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Does what you eat whilst pregnant affect the size of your baby at birth??

(38 Posts)
BotBotticelli Sun 28-Dec-14 21:49:55

This might be a stupid question...but does it??

My ever charming mother this weekend said she thought the reason ds1 was 'enormous' at birth (9lb4oz) was because - and I quote - "you ate so many cherry bakewells"....!

I am now pregnant with number 2 and she kindly warned me to watch what I eat this time to prevent myself from having another ginormo-baby.

A charmer she is, no doubt.

But is there any truth in this??

Ok, I certainly enjoyed my food during last pregnancy. Once the first trimester was over and I stopped feeling sick, everything I ate tasted delicious! I craved avocado and smoked salmon so ate loads of that, along with firey chillis, Mexican food, loads of jalapeños. Basically I loved anything with lots of flavour.

Ok, ok, I also ate one nice treat (a slice of cake or similar) per day cos I really fancied it.

Did this make ds1 fat??

I mean yes, he was chubby when he came out and was 91st centile for weight. But his head circumference was 98th centile and he was 91 centile for length as well. He was big all over!...I mean, eating cakes can't affect the size of a baby's skull Or the length of it's femur, can it??

Anyone know the answer to this??

Squtternutbaush Sun 28-Dec-14 21:55:29

I gained 4 stone eating Easter eggs and lots of other crap with DC1.

He was 6 days late, weighing 6lbs 15.5oz and measuring 54cm.

I maintained my weight (lost 15lbs almost immediately after birth) by eating healthily with DC2.

She was 2 days early, weighing 7lbs 2oz and measuring 47cm.

Basically MIL is talking shite grin

CatsClaus Sun 28-Dec-14 21:55:37

I think there is evidence that people who eat a lot of fish have heavier babies.

Not sure that eating lots of bakewells is quite so well surveyed though.

tell your mother to fark off! grin

I have giant babies too....the lightest one was 8 and a half lbs, and the other two were over 10lb...they are both now well over six foot tall and cluttering up my sitting room.

Squtternutbaush Sun 28-Dec-14 21:56:16

Oops Mother... So used to seeing MIL's being trashed on here haha

weeblueberry Sun 28-Dec-14 21:56:40

Can't say medically but last pregnancy I ate like a horse, gained 3 stone in total and had a wee tiddler (5lbs 14oz).

So I doubt it. grin

5madthings Sun 28-Dec-14 21:58:43

I only gained a stone to a stone and a half in my pregnancies, still had big babies. Biggest was 10lb 13oz with head circumference off the chart. I craved stiff like celery and carrots and pickled onions in pregnancy, and carrs water biscuits.

I think it's more genetic.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Sun 28-Dec-14 21:59:23

No I don't think so. I had hyperemesis and lived for four months on the occasional banana and fromage frais and weighed pretty the same at the end of my pregnancy as I did at the beginning and my dc's were 10lb and 11lb

milkjetmum Sun 28-Dec-14 21:59:25

Well, kind of.

The main nutrient which goes to the baby is glucose (sugar) and the amount they get depends on your blood sugar levels. This is why women with gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy) tend to have big babies.

But no way of knowing what your blood sugar levels were unless you measured them/were being monitored for gestational diabetes.

So it's possible that eating sweet foods gives you an increased blood sugar and therefore more goes to baby. Also equally possible that your body is such an efficient machine that it controls your blood sugar well and keeps everything in normal range for baby regardless of what you eat.

If you are worried about this, you could ask your midwife about gestational diabetes testing, and follow general healthy eating advice like we all should anyway. But cravings are a powerful force says the nutritionist who had a can of coke a day with dd2

CountingThePennies Sun 28-Dec-14 22:00:24

I gained 6 stone in pregnancy.

Dd was born weighing 7lb 15oz at 40+2

Goanddoapoothen Sun 28-Dec-14 22:04:48

From my experience I'd say no it doesn't. First DC I was starving 24/7, eating whatever I fancied a had 9lb3 baby. Second DC awful all day long nausea, basically ate fruit and raw veg ( couldn't stand the smell of food cooking) and had a 9lb6 baby. confused

WhyOWhyWouldYou Sun 28-Dec-14 23:30:15

I always thought only way diet effected them was if you had gestational diabetes, other than that I thought they just took what they needed (and if you don't eat enough or the right things they take the nutrients they need from your body's stores).

I ate a load of crap foods last time and DS was only 7lb2oz and really skinny but long.

CalamityKate1 Sun 28-Dec-14 23:37:02

DS1 was a week overdue and weighed 10lb 15oz.

Ds2 a week early (planned C section) and weighed 10lb 12oz.

I was RAVENOUS throughout both pregnancies. Ate and ate and ate but not for the sake of it; I really felt like I was starving.

No GD.

BotBotticelli Mon 29-Dec-14 07:56:36

Thank you all for your reassuring personal stories!! Maybe my body is just a super efficient machine which builds big strong strapping babies??

milkjetmum thanks for the dietitian perspective - I do have a sweet tooth and love a slice of cake pregnant or not, so maybe there's something in the glucose thing. I was never tested for GD cos there was never any worrying signs in my urine samples for the midwife and my BMI was on the high side of normal (26 ish) at booking so was never checked.

Might try to steer clear of cakes and snack on savoury things instead this time and see if it makes a difference.

Like someone said above though, I am just bloody starving at the moment though!! 10 weeks today and had to get DH to bring me a slice of toast in bed at 11pm last night :-/

Number3cometome Mon 29-Dec-14 09:19:23

DS was 9lb born on due date, I put 2 or 3 stone on with him, I ate well, but wouldn't say I ate as much as I did with DD who was 2 weeks early at 8lb 2oz.

I think it tends to go on the maternal Mum's children's birth weight - I was 8lb at birth, my brother was 6lb at 6 weeks early and my other brother 9lb.

My Mum was 10lb at birth, so that makes sense.

Wondering what size this one will be (different father may make a difference?)

AuditAngel Mon 29-Dec-14 09:29:31

DS 7lb 10oz at term
DD1 8lb 11oz at 37.5 weeks
DD2 5lb 13oz at 36+1

With DS and DD1, I had no morning sickness, but felt sick if I overate and I lost half a stone in first trimester. With DD2 I had morning sickness, found eating every 3 hours helped it (hungry or not) and I put on half a stone in first trimester.

Did not alter what I ate significantly with different pregnancies.

CalamityKate1 Mon 29-Dec-14 09:45:24

In our experience it's more likely that it's DH who makes strapping babies.

DSS was 10 weeks prem and still weighed 4lb and now, at 25 is a very strapping 6ft 2. His mum is only 5ft 4 and weeny.

I'm 5ft 7 but was only 6lb 10 at birth. So it would seem its DH who makes whoppers, although he's not huge; he's a bit stout but not quite 6ft.

rubyboo2 Mon 29-Dec-14 16:31:31

Hi OP I had HG in my last pregnancy and was sick all the way through my son was 9lb 02 oz and early !

slightlyconfused85 Mon 29-Dec-14 19:33:32

I don't know the answer to your question op but i am 11 weeks pg either number two and terrified of a huge baby. DD was 8lb 8oz at 40 plus 1 and everyone I know revels in telling me babies get bigger. I am scared of a 10 pounder

Besta Mon 29-Dec-14 19:42:10

In pregnancy 1 and 2 I was huge, gaining over 4 stones! I ate for an army, all of the things I fancied! Baby 1 was 5lb 9oz, baby 2 was 7lb (a few days late).

In pregnancy 3 I only put on a stone. Baby was 6lb.

I reckon it's rubbish and you're exactly the same pregnant or nt pregnant. So if you eat your head off you'll gain weight, if you exercise restraint you won't gain extra. Doesn't effect baby, that's genetic. That's my scientific explanation smile

naty1 Mon 29-Dec-14 22:11:08

Im pretty sure its milk who is correct.
Healthy people with no blood glucose issues it probably doesnt matter as you will have low blood glucose soon after eating.
Gestational diabetes (most likely undiagnosed) would make a larger baby than expected.
So try asking for the test.
I have pcos and high blood sugar - on metformin for 8wks pg. but GD test came back ok with DC1 who was 7lb10.
Hopefully they will do the test again this time.
I think the urine dip sticks would pick up sugar??
dsis has had a 6lb and 9lb - which may have been GD. As they are both quite short 5'2 and 5'7 it will be interesting if baby grows down to genetic height or keeps going 91st centile.
I think nhs page had info on risk factors for GD

skitter Mon 29-Dec-14 22:29:21

I'd agree that if you don't have GD it's unlikely to affect the baby's size. With ds1 I didn't have GD and ate LOADS of sweet things. He was born on the 25th centile. With this pregnancy (currently 35+4) I've got GD (BMI was 22 before pregnancy but I'm 36 years old so that put me at higher risk than last time) and so have to be very careful as high blood sugar can result in a bigger baby and other concerns. I miss cake...but I guess on the bright side I've never eaten more healthily!

pinkrocker Mon 29-Dec-14 22:35:44

The nightly cadbury mini puddings didn't help - along with the Weetos and hot chocolate I craved all the time, I had negative tests for gestational DB.
I had a 10lb 10 baby 17 days late and I had put on 6 stone!!
However baby may have been heavy but wasn't chunky at all. She dropped so fast on the centile charts post birth (from 95 to 20) that MW and HV wanted me to top up with formula feed.
Maybe I should have topped her up with hot chocolate grin but she's now a very slim, tall young lady.

Number3cometome Tue 30-Dec-14 09:08:19

I did not have GD in either pregnancy, in fact I was told I would have a 6 or 7lb baby. I also had pre-eclampsia in both pregnancies (eclampsia in with DS) I was told that babies with mothers who have pre-eclampsia are usually small!!!

DS born on due date at 9lb is now 5ft 3 with a size 7 feet aged 11 and very slim.

DD born at 38 weeks at 8lb 2oz is now about 138cm aged 7 and very slim.

I am 5ft 3 and a size 10-12, my children are giants!!

I should add that my children are mixed afro-Caribbean, Indian and white.

Growth charts can vary from ethnicity to ethnicity.

In my child growth book it says that Asian children tend to be on the lower part of the growth centiles, European in the middle and Afro-Caribbean on the larger side - true or not who knows!

Neither were chubby at birth, but both remained on the 95th centile for height and remain there now. My ex partner is 6ft 2 so not overly tall.

My partner now is 5ft 11, it will be interesting to see the size of this baby (who was measuring slightly small at an 8 week scan)!

I personally do not think it is anything (barring GD) to do with food, I think it is genetics. I have tried to look for studies and stuff but cannot find any information. I have noticed now that ladies do seem to be having much bigger babies, but then people are taller now.

LotsaDots Tue 30-Dec-14 09:32:07

No in my experience the baby takes what it needs and if you over eat you get the fat.

Ds was 7lb 8oz I over ate and had loads to lose. Dd was 8lb 13oz even though I ate less junk and had eaten shed loads of ice whilst pregnant with her and not much else, I only had 4lb to lose after I had her.

Number3cometome Tue 30-Dec-14 09:34:20

I wish I only had 4lb to lose after!! I cannot stop eating through fear of feeling sick at the moment!

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