I first heard of epigenetics on the Dr. Oz show a few years back & was fascinated!! I couldn’t believe that genes could be turned on and off based on what happens in the womb, including weight at conception, weight gain & stress during pregnancy and prenatal nutrition! It makes so much sense! A great book that includes some info about this is YOU: Having a baby [love Dr. Oz]. It’s one of my favorite pregnancy books & if you’re only going to buy one….buy that one! [It’s located in my sidebar on the right side from Amazon.]
But for a more in depth look into “how the 9 months before birth shape the rest of our lives” read Origins. Check my sidebar for this one too!
The book discusses the history of pregnancy, which is…fascinating! People used to think that the placenta filtered everything from reaching the fetus! They would drink & take meds & had no idea that it reached the fetus. She tells the stories of how it was discovered that certain drugs caused birth defects! How awful!
Of course the weight and nutrition aspect of this book is what interested me the most! A few fascinating facts from the book:
- “greater weight gain by a woman during pregnancy was associated with a heavier child at age three” [p. 18]
- The children of a mother who has weight loss surgery in between pregnancies will have different obesity rates. The children born after the weight loss surgery are three times less likely to be severely obese than their older siblings. So, the intrauterine environment, regardless of prenatal nutrition is a factor in the future obesity of your children! [p. 18-19]
- “an obese woman who loses weight before getting pregnant is making an investment in her offspring’s future health.” [p. 19]
- What scares me is that I am priming my daughter’s taste for sugary, fatty or salty foods based on what I’m eating during pregnancy and the first years of her life through nursing! [Hopefully my first & second trimester food aversions won’t affect my girl!]
I can’t tell you ALL of the awesome facts in this book….there are SO many!!! The book discusses how stress and severe stress events like 9/11 can impact fetuses. And, rest easy, the author discusses how little cortisol reaches the fetus and how stress may actually be GOOD for the fetus!
Along with meds, stress and nutrition/obesity/diabetes/birth weight, there are also chapters on alcohol, gender, exercise, mood, emotions/depression, mental disorders, poverty, sexuality, chemicals and environmental factors, vaccinations, and birth to name a few!
What was the most impressive discovery you’ve had about nutrition, exercise, environment, healthy lifestyle and it’s effects?