What are some effects of poor fetal nutrition?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
In utero, if you feed your baby fewer nutrients, you're programming your child to expect an environment of deprivation ex-utero. So genes that cause the fetus to be very thrifty (metabolically speaking) are turned on. Once the baby is born and the external environment is not one of deprivation, that child will conserve more of the food it gets and become fatter, exhibiting what's known as a thrifty phenotype.

More fat storage equals an increased likelihood of becoming overweight and developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and even osteoporosis as an adult. It's similar to the reason why starvation diets don't work: Your metabolism slows and your body goes into fat-storage mode when it thinks it's faced with famine. Poor fetal nutrition may also permanently change the structure and development of vital organs like the brain. In some cases, these epigenetic changes can even be passed on to future generations, as well.
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YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.