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The significance of what we eat during
pregnancy for our babies

Scientifically reviewed by
Dr Fathalla Ali, PhD Paediatrics


Current evidence based research indicates that what we eat during pregnancy has a significant impact on the early development of the baby during pregnancy and the first 1000 days of life.

Science explains that what we eat impacts on the “epigenetic profile” of the developing baby and may have an impact on the susceptibility of the baby to certain types of diseases and disorders in later life. The relationship between a mother’s diet during pregnancy, it’s impact on her microbiome and it’s impact on the “epigenetic profile” of the baby has emerged from the research as one of the main determinants of the baby’s gut microbiome and developing immune system.

Unfortunately obesity is associated with the Western Pattern Diet (ie high in fat, animal protein and sugar and low consumption of complex carbohydrates). The Western Pattern Diet can reduce the diversity of the microbes that make up the microbiome and can lead to the development of “leaky gut Syndrome” which is the leaking of pathogenic bacteria into the blood circulation system. This in turn can trigger inflammation and disease.

Research suggests that obesity during pregnancy is setting the stage for a host of unfavourable health outcomes ranging from disorders of the metabolism to disorders involving brain function.

Keywords: Microbiome diversity, Epigenome, Western pattern diet, High fat diet, High sugar diet, Low complex carbohydrate diet, Obesity


  1. Li Y. (2018). Epigenetic Mechanisms Link Maternal Diets and Gut Microbiome to Obesity in the Offspring. Frontiers in genetics, 9, 342. Click here.
  2. Hollander, D., & Kaunitz, J. D. (2020). The “Leaky Gut”: Tight Junctions but Loose Associations?. Digestive diseases and sciences, 65(5), 1277–1287. Click here.
  3. Di Ges`u CM, Matz LM, Buffington SA, Diet-induced dysbiosis of the maternal gut microbiome in early life programming of neurodevelopmental disorders, Neuroscience Research (2021). Click here.

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