This is a post that I may regularly update on new recommendations of things for pregnant women to avoid. We already know about the standard advice – no cigarettes or drugs, no alcohol, no riding roller coasters. So, this is just a list of more recent pregnancy risks that merit mention (if not concern). Feel free to add any science-based pregnancy news in the comment section that may be suitable for the list…
1. Junk Food – OK, duh, right? I’m sure there are pregnant moms-to-be out there craving frosted covered Krispy Kreme donuts thinking about their own waste lines. Well, they need to be thinking about the kids. A recent labrat study showed that pregnant rats fed junk food were much more likely to have obese offspring, even if the offspring were fed a healthy diet. The baby rats had larger fat cells, increased blood sugar, and decreased insulin sensitivity, making it harder for them to lose weight.
2. Cell Phones – This may be a statistical anomaly with some other explanation, but a Danish retrospective cohort study surprised the scientific community with the claim that cell phone use by pregnant mothers may create behavioral problems for their future offspring. The cell phone using moms eventually had children with a 54% greater chance of emotional problems, hyperactivity, conduct problems, and peer problems. There are a few things that confuse me about this study, the first of which is that people aren’t likely to be using their bellies to talk on their cell phones. How can a signal from a phone be strong enough to effect a fetus? My second issue is that I don’t understand how a cell phone signal can alter the future behavior problems of children. We’re talking about an effect that happens eight years later.
Nuts – A study by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine recently compared a diet questionaire from pregnant women eight years ago and the health status of their present offspring. The results seem startling. Women who ate peanut products (peanut butter, etc) every day had children with a 40-60% greater chance of eventually developing asthma. To the contrary, women who regularly ate fruit had children with a lower incidence of asthma. These studies always seem so sketchy to me. The media siezes on them for a good headline, but really they are reasons for further studies. Oh well.