Eating for two could harm your baby

New studies reveal that pregnant women who consume a high calorie diet could be affecting the gender and health of their baby

Pregnant woman
Pregnant woman
(Image credit: Katie Collins/PA Photos)

New studies reveal that pregnant women who consume a high calorie diet could be affecting the gender and health of their baby

Pregnant women are often advised to eat for two, but new studies have revealed that a high calorie diet could in fact be affecting the gender and, most importantly, the health of their baby.

Researchers have found that pregnant mice, whose diets were high in fat or carbohydrates, had an effect on 2,0000 genes in developing babies, with some affecting kidney function and smell.

The most significant variations were discovered in those of female foetuses, which may suggest that girls may be more sensitive to genetic alterations caused by their mother's diet.

Reports however suggest that risks of both sons or daughters becoming obese or developing diabetes in later life could be heightened by what their mothers eat and their general body condition while expecting.

These findings follow on from previous research that suggests a woman's diet around the time of conception may influence the gender of the offspring. A high-calorie diet may increase the probability of giving birth to a boy, while those women with lower calorie intake were more likely to produce a girl.

There has reportedly been a steady decline in the proportion of boys being born in industrialised countries, due to women consuming lower fat foods and also skipping breakfast.

However researchers are concerned that there could be several confounding factors that determine the sex or health of your baby including, Times Online reports, that mothers who are overweight or obese being at a greater risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.


Natalia Lubomirski
Natalia is a health journalist with 14 years experience in the publishing industry. She has worked for a number of well known magazines and websites including Marie Claire, Woman&Home, Top Sante, Boots and The Telegraph.  She likes to think she practices what she preaches when it comes to health and fitness. Her athletic prowess began early. A keen fencer for 13 years, she wielded an epée for Olympic Team GB during her teenage years. She likes to think she made sword-fighting cool before Game of Thrones came along! While working on her sporting performance with the team, she also participated in a lot of nutrition and psychology training, When it comes to time off, you’ll most likely find her up a mountain somewhere. It seems holidays have become a time for climbing several thousand feet, rather than chilling out. She’s now hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents – including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (she spent her honeymoon hiking to the top of Half Dome), as well as hitting the summits of Snowdon, Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa, the Blue Mountains in Australia and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. She’s also passionate about all things health, particularly vaccinations, and will happily jump on her soap box at any given opportunity to talk about their benefits to anyone who will listen!