Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Diet while pregnant not good for baby

Dieting while pregnant linked to obesity

Diet while pregnantMost women who are due to have a baby will probably be on a specific diet while pregnant.

The question is... Can I diet while pregnant?

Well, according to recent research, women who are falling pregnant while they are on a diet are more likely to have a child that could become obese or diabetic in later life. The study carried out on sheep giving ewes less food at the time of conception caused DNA changes in the brain of their young.

Scientists at the University of Manchester suspect the findings may hold true for humans as well and could explain why twins are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

The research carried out investigated twin pregnancies in sheep as well the pregnancies of ewes that received less food around the time the lamb was conceived. The study then looked at tissues from the brains of the unborn lambs to see if there were changes in the structure of the DNA.

One of the researcher Anne White said that unborn twin lambs had changes in the structure of DNA in the region of the brain that regulates food intake and glucose that resulted in an increased chance of diabetes in adulthood.

To sum up, the findings provide a reason why twins are most likely to get diabetes but also show that mothers who don't have enough food around the time of conception may have a child who grows up with an increased risk of obesity. The researchers believe their findings are relevant to humans as they reveal a non-genetic, or ‘epigenetic', way in which the DNA of an offspring can be altered.

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