​What if our health today was determined a long time ago when our mothers were pregnant with us? Incredible?

It seems science has discovered that our mothers’ nine months of pregnancy (and maybe even before that!) had predetermined the onset of chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity in our adult life. In other words, our good health, or bad health, started before we were even born.

Your First Nine Months Shaped The Rest Of Your Life

Professor David Barker pioneered the Foetal Origins Theory in the 1980s, which suggested that chronic diseases, often manifested in adulthood, are programmed during pregnancy and the early stages of growth and development. His theory highlights that a woman’s body composition (formed by her diet and lifestyle), before conception and during pregnancy, have important effects on the health of her children, and on future generations.

This suggests that babies born with birth-weights at extreme ends of the normal weight range, either too small (less than 2,500gm) or too large (more than 4,500gm) are more likely to develop chronic diseases in adulthood.

This is called foetal programming. Malnutrition in the womb, and the resulting small body size at birth, leads to lifelong changes in the body. Babies at the upper end of the birth-weight range are also at increased risk.

This theory later gave rise to the concept of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). This concept emphasises the importance of the environment during infancy and early childhood on a child’s future health outcomes.

A Healthy Start Right From The Beginning

A future mother can reduce the risk of the onset of chronic diseases in her child by improving the nutrition of her foetus. And a baby’s nutrition in the womb depends on the mother’s healthy diet – both before she conceives and during pregnancy.

Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy

Before you get pregnant, it is important you establish healthy eating habits and lifestyle practices. What this does is determine your body composition, and provide the stores of good nutrition that you will make available to the baby you will be carrying.

If you want to ensure the best outcomes for your child after birth, and throughout your child’s life, it all starts with a healthy, fit you.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides for a healthy pregnancy.