Pregnant woman's diet may 'affect birthweight of daughter's future children'

The study conducted on 3,000 women in the Philippines found that what women ate during their pregnancies could influence the size of their grandchildren

Science Editor in Chicago

A woman’s diet during pregnancy may affect the birthweight of her daughter’s children a generation later, a study of 3,000 women in the Philippines has found.

Researchers discovered that the nutrition of a grandmother during her pregnancy can affect the size of her grandchildren at birth by influencing her daughter’s own physiology throughout her life.

Christopher Kuzawa of Northwester University in Chicago said that the results of the on-going study which began in the 1980s suggest that a mother’s nutrition while she was in the womb herself and during her infancy may play a greater role in the birth weight of her babies than what she eats as an adult or during pregnancy.

“Our findings add to the growing evidence that a baby’s birthweight is linked to the nutrition that her mother experienced as an infant or young child,” Dr Kuzawa told the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"[There is] quite a bit of converging evidence that the quantity of calories you consume during pregnancy does not have a big effect on the baby. It is more about pre-pregnancy nutrition and nutrition during early development," Dr Kuzawa said.

“The mother’s infancy nutrition and the grandmother’s pregnancy nutrition both predicted birth weight in offspring of the mothers,” he told the meeting. 

Although scientists have known for some time about the influence of a mother’s nutrition during her development on her own children’s birthweights, this is one of the first studies to suggest that a grandmother’s diet during pregnancy may also play a role.

Dr Kuzawa emphasised that the findings were still preliminary and that they relied on mothers at the age of between 21 and 22 remembering their own birthweights and dietary intakes when they were children. 

The population under study in the Philippines may also have experienced greater malnourishment in the previous two generations than women in more developed nations such as Britain.

“There is an old idea that goes back a few decades that the nutrition that a mother experienced when she was in utero has an intergenerational effect – influencing the nutrition that she provides to her own baby decades later,” he said.

“One possibility is that the nutrition that a female foetus experiences while in utero has an intergenerational effect, influencing in utero growth in her future offspring,” he told the meeting.

Mothers should be relaxed about their diet during pregnancy so long as it is balanced and healthy, he said. 

“The mother’s body seems to do a good job of buffering overall nutritional supply to her growing baby. Within the bounds of a healthy balanced diet, the overall quantity of food that a mother eats is unlikely to have large effects on her baby’s birth weight,” Dr Kuzawa said.

"It's going to turn out the weight it's going to turn out whatever your specific dietary choices."

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

    £300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

    KS1 Teacher

    £95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

    HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

    £32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?