If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or even thinking about trying to get pregnant, it’s likely you’re familiar with the large amount of recommendations made through public health organisations, practitioners, books, blogs, friends, family etc… What to eat, how much and when… What not to eat, drink or do… How you should look and feel at each stage… What kind of birth you should plan for… it’s a minefield!
There has been some press in the last week about a new study that’s been published linking metabolic conditions in pregnancy (obesity, diabetes and high BP) with neurodevelopmental problems in childhood.
If you’re unfamiliar with the study I’m referring to, here are the details (you can also read the full text here) : researchers looked at 1,004 children between two and five years old – of these small people, 517 had an autism spectrum disorder and 172 had developmental delays (the ‘spectrum’ of autism includes conditions such as Asperger’s). The researchers then looked at each mother’s health through pregnancy, and found that those with metabolic conditions were far more likely to have children with the above conditions. The reason for this association is not entirely understood (though poor glucose regulation in utero, for example, has potential to severely harm the baby), but it does show a link between the two.
There are a number of earlier studies that have also linked maternal obesity – and its sequelae – to impaired infant and child health, including developmental delays, immune challenges and metabolic conditions of their own.
So what does this mean for us, the wannabe mums and dads of an increasingly overweight and health-burdened population?
Well, as Australia continues to battle the bulge it’s important to make good choices with what you put in your mouth and how you spend your time. Genuinely caring about your own health and making healthy habits just that – habits – is the best general advice I can give. Eating well, living well and managing your weight is important – not just for looking good, as it were, but for your wellbeing and the health of our next generation.
If you’re worried about your health during pregnancy, or have questions about where to get started… come and see me! These are the kind of things I love to work through with people.