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Speed Bumbs on the Road from Bump to Baby

Friday, June 01, 2012

When it comes to diet and pregnancy, the focus is usually on vitamins (think folic acid), minerals (think iron) and foods to avoid (think soft cheese). But a growing body of research on the cutting edge of science and medicine is telling us something quite profound.  Your baby’s adult weight and health is to a great degree set in stone before they are even born.  Their birth weight is a marker of what’s to come. And what we feed our babies afterbirth is not as important as what we were eating at that special moment when ‘egg met sperm’ and we began the delicate task of making a baby. Our weight status (underweight, normal weight, overweight) at the time of conception and our weight gain over the course of pregnancy are more critical than we could ever have imagined. It’s called “metabolic programming” and it’s the new science of epigenetics.

The Bump to Baby Diet(Low GI Eating Plan for Conception, Pregnancy and Beyond) by Professor Jennie Brand-Miler, Dr Kate Marsh and Professor Robert Moses has a unique focus on the importance of your weight at the start of pregnancy, your weight gain over the next 9 months, your baby’s birth weight and the effect of all these on the future health of you and your baby. It recommends a low GI diet for good reason. Pregnancy is a stage in life when the carbohydrates in food play a starring role. Your average blood glucose level throughout the day is directly correlated with our baby’s growth rate in the womb.  Quite simply, glucose is the primary fuel that drives all aspects of your baby’s development.  If your glucose levels are too high, then your baby will grow too fast and be born with excessive amounts of body fat.  And infant birth weights and child obesity have increased hand in hand over recent decades in most industrialised nations.

Blood glucose levels during pregnancy have always been important. It’s the main reason why women who have pre-existing diabetes are given intense medical attention before and during their pregnancies. It’s also the reason why all pregnant women are routinely screened at 26-28 weeks gestation to determine if they have developed gestational diabetes. What’s new is that we now know that even mildly elevated glucose levels during pregnancy have serious consequences.

The Bump to Baby Diet is based on choosing low GI carbs, that is the carbs that are slowly digested and absorbed, producing only gentle rises and falls in blood sugar (blood glucose) and insulin levels. Reducing the GI of your diet is one of the safest and most effective ways of ensuring that your baby grows at the optimum rate, without laying down excessive body fat.  In essence, you’ll make some judicious swaps. You’ll chose carbohydrate foods that are known to have a low GI, including specific brands and varieties of bread, breakfast cereal, rice and potatoes.  You’ll eat loads of fruit and vegetables (bar potatoes) and you’ll still enjoy a moderate intake of sugar and sweet food.  The GI is full of surprises. For example, you’ll learn that many wholegrain foods are high GI, and that many white products (eg pasta and basmati rice) are low GI.  For more information about the glycemic index of foods, go to: www.glycemicindex.com and www.gisymbol.com

The Bump to Baby Diet is the only diet book for pregnancy written with these facts in mind. It is not a fad diet, nor low carb diet nor low fat diet. It’s much more flexible and easy to accommodate into busy lives. Above all, it’s a delicious, enjoyable way of eating that is part and parcel of many ethnic cuisines. If you adopt a healthy low GI diet before or during pregnancy, you’ve giving your family the very best start in life. 

Following on this articel Professor Brand-Miller writes on Optimising Your Lifestyle Before Conception and Optimising Your Lifestyle During Pregnancy.

To find out more follow this link to The Bump to Baby Diet website.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY School of Molecular Bioscience, The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders and author of  'The Bump to Baby Diet'

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