Posts Tagged ‘ Genetics ’

New Study: Healthy Babies Don’t “Start From Scratch”

Friday, August 15th, 2014

We know we’re all about the healthy lifestyle once that pregnancy test is positive, but researchers are discovering that the health of mom and dad way before the baby is conceived plays a part in their child’s future health, too.

According to a new paper by researchers at the University of Adelaide, there’s evidence that poor health pre-conception can preprogram your baby to have poor health in his future, too. “Many things we do in the lead up to conceiving is having an impact on the future development of the child — from the age of the parents, to poor diet, obesity, smoking and many other factors, all of which influence environmental signals transmitted into the embryo,” Professor Sarah Robertson, a coauthor of the paper “Parenting from before conception” published in the journal Science, says.

The study authors found links between parents’ poor health and a child’s future poor health, including increases in diabetes, heart disease, and immune disorders.

So if you’re even thinking about getting pregnant, now’s the time to start building good health habits—quitting smoking, eating healthier, and boosting your fitness levels. That can help ensure that your baby gets the best start in life.

Test your pregnancy IQ with our quiz. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and information.

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What "Eating for Two" Really Means

Image: Newborn by Inara Prusakova/

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Surprising Trait You Could Pass Down to Your Baby

Friday, March 21st, 2014

We all know things like hair and eye color, even intelligence, can be passed down from mom and dad to baby. But can anxiety? A new study says yes, and more specifically, your fear of math can rub off on your little one while he or she is in the womb. What? Who knew?

According to a study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, whose findings are published in the online version of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, genetic factors explain about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety. The rest is chocked up to experiences at school, home and around friends.

The study, which examined how 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins differ on measures of math anxiety, provides a new view on why some children—and adults—may develop a real fear of math that makes it more difficult for them to solve math problems and succeed in school.

Science Daily reports that math anxiety taps into genetic predispositions in two ways: “People’s cognitive performance on math and their tendency toward anxiety,” said Zhe Wang, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Ohio State University.

Stephen Petrill, professor of psychology at Ohio State, and the principal investigator of the study, says, “Genetic factors may exacerbate or reduce the risk of doing poorly at math. If you have these genetic risk factors for math anxiety and then you have negative experiences in math classes, it may make learning that much harder.“

Hmmm…so in addition to prenatal appointments, and readying the nursery, do pregnant mamas-to-be need to be boning up on their math skills, so their newborns will eventually be math geniuses rather than math worriers?

TELL US: Do you think a parents’ anxiety, and specifically academic anxieties, can be passed down from generation to generation?

Find out how tall your child could be with our height calculator.

What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School

Image of child doing geometry courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Could You Cause Your Baby to be Gay?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

According to an über-controversial new book called We Are Our Brains by Dutch neurologist Dick Swaab, stress as well as smoking or taking amphetamines while pregnant play a major role in a developing fetus’ sexuality. He says there are multiple academic studies to back up the claim, and that the brain in fetuses begins to develop at two weeks, with anything introducing toxins into the body having an impact on the development.

The UK’s Sunday Times reports, “Pre-birth exposure to both nicotine and amphetamines increases the chance of lesbian daughters,” Swaab, a professor of neurobiology at Amsterdam University, says in his book. “Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children of both genders because their raised level of the stress hormone cortisol affects the production of fetal sex hormones.”

Although it’s frequently assumed that development after birth also importantly affects our sexual orientation, there’s no proof of this whatsoever,” he states in his book. “Children brought up by lesbians aren’t more likely to be homosexual. Nor is there any evidence at all for the misconception that homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice”. (Ok, those two claims I can get behind.)

The Daily Mail reports that when he first explored differences in the brains of homosexual and heterosexual people in the 1980s there was a huge outcry from gay rights campaigners, who said his findings cast homosexuality as a “medical problem”. But Professor Swaab says his view that sexuality is decided in the womb slashes the argument, often made by conservative groups, that gay people can be “cured”.

While lifestyle factors of the mother are just one influence on the fetus, Swaab did acknowledge that genetics played the most important role.

TELL US: Do you think stress, smoking and taking amphetamines could be what causes homosexuality?

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.


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