A simple urine test may help pregnant women have a positive influence on their baby’s birth weight. New research at Imperial College, London shows some seemingly simple lifestyle changes that could make a big difference.
In the largest study of its kind, researchers looked at urine samples and the lifestyles of 800 pregnant women.
“The aim of this study was to look for metabolites in the urine of pregnant women and to see if these could predict birthweight.” says Study Co-author Muireann Coen.
The samples revealed several birth weight indicators that women can control including their vitamin D levels, exercise, and diet.
Researchers say eating protein packed foods, rich in vital nutrients, called branched-chain amino acids made a big difference in the third trimester when babies grow the most. Foods rich in BCCA’s include chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and soy protein.
The study found a 50 percent increase in BCAA’s could mean a weight gain of as much as 2.5 percent.
Study Co-author Mireille Toledano says, “If we can find ways to intervene and modify the level of these metabolites then we would be able to ensure that healthy birth weight.”
Low and abnormal birth weights have been linked to chronic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Doctors hope this test could be another tool for new mothers to give their babies a healthy start.