For as long as most can remember, women have heard the phrase, “You’re eating for two now.” But according to health care professionals like Professor Wayne Cutfield, this saying carries some loaded risks for the unborn child – risks that can carry on into adulthood.
Director of the Liggins Institute at the University of Aukland, Professor Cutfield says obesity needs to be prevented before it even starts rather than being “inadequately addressed” later on. And since he (along with other health care professionals) believes that a woman’s health before pregnancy reflects on the health of her child later on in life, this includes debunking the old cliché “eating for two.”
Even worse, Professor Cutfield says, is that a recent study found that even women undergoing IVF to get pregnant hold onto their alcohol, coffee and tobacco consumption.
“If you look at the diets of women undergoing IVF, this is a highly motivated, educated group; if they’re eating inappropriately, what do we expect of the rest of the population,” Cutfield said.
Professor Cutfield says studies have proven the benefits of a healthier diet for pregnant women, but that the information found in those studies is not being effectively taught to women. This hinders their ability to reap the benefits for themselves and their children. He planned to address this issue, along with others that increase the risk of obesity in children, at the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting this week.
In addition to diet during gestation, Professor Cutfield says that first born children have a 60% higher chance of developing diabetes later in life, children born prematurely have a 5% increased risk, children born post-term are at a 4% higher risk, children born small have a 3% higher risk, and children born to mothers who suffered from severe morning sickness have an increased risk of 2%.
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