Being overweight may set your baby up for heart disease

Your doctor has hopefully explained to you that during your pregnancy you need to make sure to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. However, you should also try to eat right before you become pregnant, if possible. Overweight and obese women face a number of potential health problems while pregnant{expecting}, including labor problems and pregnancy loss. Now, recent research has found that being obese may set your baby up for a lifetime of health problems. 

According to Australian scientists from the University of Sydney, babies who are born to mothers who are overweight or obese may already have thickened walls in their aorta - the body's major artery

Sign of future problems
The researchers said that regardless of what a baby's birth weight was, they found that babies born to overweight or obese mothers are likely to have thicker aorta walls than those born to mothers with a healthy weight. Thick aorta walls are a precursor of heart disease, which means that these babies may have an increased risk of experiencing heart problems and stroke in their future. 

To come to their conclusions, the researchers examined 23 pregnant women and found that the higher a mother's weight, the greater the baby's intima-media thickness was. 

"The earliest physical signs of atherosclerosis are present in the abdominal aorta, and aortic intima-media thickness is considered the best non-invasive measure of structural health of the vasculature in children," explained the study authors, in a statement. 

These findings provide yet another reason why women who are considering having a baby should assess their weight beforehand. If they discover that they are overweight or obese, they should try to shed some pounds before attempting to conceive, if not only for their own health but  that of their babies. 

Tips for healthy baby weight
While your doctor can offer you advice for what you should be doing to ensure that your baby is born with a healthy weight, such as eating right and getting moderate exercise, it's often up to you to monitor your baby's weight after he or she is born and for the rest of his or her childhood. 

According to an article published by The San Francisco Chronicle, toddlers burn a lot of calories since they are often constantly moving. This is why you want to feed them nutrient-dense, yet healthy, foods. One important thing you should do is make sure that your toddler consumes plenty of protein. For instance, your toddler should be consuming meat, fish and eggs, but on days when he or she is being particularly picky, consider simply adding some almonds into pancake batter or giving your toddler a nutrient-rich chocolate shake. 

Furthermore, it's important to make sure that every snack toddlers consume helps them getting a good amount of healthy calories. For example, don't give them chips or a candy bar when they could be eating trail mix, granola or crackers with peanut butter instead. All of these snacks are filled with calories, but they aren't empty ones like those that come from junk food.They also contain vitamins and minerals like calcium. 

Finally, while you might avoid whole milk to stay slim, you shouldn't be afraid to give this to your child, because they could use the nutrients and the extra calories. 

Did you lose weight before getting pregnant? If so, how did you do it? What healthy snacks do you feed your toddler to help him or her maintain a healthy weight? Do you have any special recipes? Leave them all on here for other parents!