Raj K. Syal, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Jenna A. Everson, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Holly Westmoreland, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.   
    • 01 MAY 14

    Bad Diet Prior To Pregnancy Can Alter A Baby’s Genes Permanently

    pregnant-woman

    There’s an interesting story on NPR today about a study published in Nature Magazine looking at what effects a bad diet has on babies prior to pregnancy.

    It found that nutritional deficiencies at the time of conception can actually alter a baby’s genes — permanently!

    Nutritional deficiencies right at the time of conception can alter a baby’s genes permanently, scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine report Tuesday. 

    The study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to show that an environmental factor during the first few days of development can change DNA long term.

    The researchers didn’t look at how these genetic changes affect overall fetal development or the baby’s health later in life. And they analyzed only six genes.

    But there’s growing evidence from other studies that similar types of genetic changes may help determine a child’s risk for some diseases, including diabetes, mental disorders and autism.

    It seems like the takeaway here is that striving for proper nutrition is a good thing in general. If you try and live a healthy lifestyle and follow a proper diet to begin with it may also be an extra advantage for your baby.