The Guardian reports this week that research carries out by Bristol and Exeter universities has found that the blood sugar and blood pressure has an influence on the size of their babies. It found that mothers with higher blood sugar tended to have heavier babies, even if blood sugar is not higher than a safe level. It also found that mothers with high blood pressure have smaller babies.
The reason that this is a concern is that being born extra large or extra small can have health implications for those babies in the future. Both being born at a high or low weight is linked to type 2 diabetes, for example. The study found that most mothers with elevated blood pressure were overweight or obese and this led to them having smaller babies.
Further testing will now be done to find out whether babies that are born larger due to the mother having high blood sugar, tend to stay large throughout their lives. It may mean that any weight problems we have as adults could be linked to our size at birth. However, this does not mean we should just sit back and assume that we have a predisposition to being a particular size and therefore should not try to keep a healthy weight. This is a mistake that is easy to make, as well as assuming that if you have ‘fat’ genes that you should be not bothering to try to lose weight. It may just mean hat there are some of us that will find it much harder to lose weight than others. We probably all now people who find it easy to lose or maintain a low weight and therefore that is not really a surprise.
The research may put more pressure on women who are trying to get pregnant to try to be a healthy weight first. However, being a healthy weight is not the only factor that can effect blood sugar or blood pressure, but it is a factor that you can control and so something you could use to motivate you to lose weight. You will be healthier as a result as well.