When it comes to dieting before trying to get pregnant, it may be best to finish the diet before you ramp up your efforts to conceive.
Trying to lose weight before you conceive? Entering pregnancy at a healthy weight can help you have a healthier pregnancy, but according to a study from the UK's University of Manchester, mothers on weight loss diets when they became pregnant are more likely to have offspring who themselves experience weight problems as they grow up.
Researchers came to this conclusion after studying sheep, but say the results can also apply to humans, reports Fox News. In the study, ewes that received less food around the time they became pregnant produced lambs with an altered DNA in the part of the brain related to food intake and glucose levels. It's these altered genes that appear to up the risk for obesity and other health issues, says researchers.
"What is significant is that the changes we have found are in genes that control food intake and glucose levels and alterations in these genes may lead to obesity and diabetes," notes Professor Anne White, who led the study (via Fox News).
If you are on a weight loss diet right now, are you excluding certain food groups, such as grains and carbohydrates, in your pre-baby efforts to slim down? It's important to make sure any vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you may be missing out on are coming to you from elsewhere in your diet—or from a prenatal supplement.
Does your doctor or midwife know you are dieting? Check in on this topic, no matter how much weight you think you have to lose. Whether or not future research turns up the same results in human moms and babies, paying attention to your preconception diet can go a long way towards helping your pregnancy get off to the healthiest start possible.