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Eating too many chips in pregnancy may stunt baby growth

Tags: pregnancy

Women who eat lots of crisps and chips during their pregnancy tend to have smaller babies, researchers have discovered.

Carbohydrate-rich baked or fried foods such as these contain a substance called acrylamide, and scientists suspect this may be causing lower birth weight.

The findings, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, come from a study of over 1,000 pregnant women living in Denmark, England, Greece, Norway and Spain.

Babies born to mums with a high dietary intake of acrylamide were found to be 132g (4.6oz) lighter than babies born to mothers who had a low intake.

They also found the infants' heads were up to 0.33cm smaller in circumference.

The researchers checked for other factors that might explain the differences in birth weight – such as whether the mum smoked in pregnancy – but none changed the findings.

Experts stress that the study shows up only a link between a mother’s diet and her baby’s birth weight. There is no proof that acrylamide is to blame.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency does not advise people to stop eating any of the foods that contain acrylamide, which includes toast and coffee as well as crisps and chips.

It’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. You should also avoid certain foods in pregnancy, such as pâté and raw or undercooked eggs.

Visit the rest of our Pregnancy and Childcare Centre for more information on pre-conception and pregnancy care and healthy eating advice during pregnancy.

Or why don’t you post any health-related questions that you may have online and one of our experts will get back to you with some advice?

Source @Trio Media 2012

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