'Stop eating or you’ll have a huge baby!’ Mothers-to-be are constantly cautioned about the risks of gaining too much weight in pregnancy. But a new study published in the journal BMJ shows that eating for a big baby may not be such a bad thing after all.
Researchers found that having a low birthweight is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Unsurprisingly, this risk is even larger if one has an unhealthy lifestyle. So how does being born a few pounds lighter affect you that much later in life?
Explaining their results with the ‘thrifty-gene hypothesis,’ researchers reasoned that a fetus with access to only a limited amount of nutrition learns to hoard whatever they do get. When you transfer that tendency to an adult body, you get diabetes and weight problems later in life. In other words, if you had a "fear" of potential scarcity within the womb, you were more inclined to eat as much food as you could. This habit then transfers over into adulthood, leading to weight-related health problems.
However, experts warn that mothers-to-be shouldn't use this new research as an excuse to load up on unhealthy foods. Eat to maximize nutrition, not calories.
Have you noticed a connection between your birth weight and your metabolic health as an adult?