Obesity and pregnancy are not ideal “travel buddies” – that is a fact that has been scientifically acknowledged for a long time now. If you are obese, or even slightly overweight, your pregnancy may be classified as high risk, and you may be more closely monitored for conditions like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. There are even indications that babies born to obese mothers are more likely to become obese themselves. But what do you make of this new study?

Babies of mothers wh0 consumed a high-fat, unhealthy diet during pregnancy were fatter themselves, but amazingly had smaller livers, according to new research published in the Physiology and Endocrinology Metabolism journal online. The research, like a lot of studies into humans, was carried out on mice.

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital did say that those pregnant women who make positive changes in their diet early on in the game reduce the negative consequences their lifestyle may have on their babies. Weight gain during pregnancy, but especially a good diet, really do matter!

The lead researcher,  Stephanie M Krasnow PhD, from the Pape Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, said: ”One of the key findings here is that the offspring are born with a marked shift in body composition, away from lean mass and toward fat mass, prior to any dietary exposure in the offspring themselves.”

As always, the findings should be reproduced in humans before this becomes an accepted scientific fact. But the smaller liver part of the research are alarming enough to remember when you are pregnant and wondering how to plan your meals. Healthy, balanced meals really are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy – and they will help to set your baby up with a healthy lifestyle!