A recent study at Tufts Medical Center finds a mother’s diet during pregnancy has profound impacts on the child’s weight later in life. Interestingly, both ends of the spectrum lead to the same consequences: undernourished or overnourished moms-to-be end up with children more likely to be obese. The most likely cause is a change in genes involved in laying down fat in the infant’s body so they have more fat and less muscle mass. There is also some evidence that having an obese mother changes the region of the brain that regulates appetite so the baby is more prone to craving high calorie foods. The researchers recommend obese or overweight women adhere to the lower weight gain guidelines to help curb this result. If an infant is more at risk for obesity because he or she has a very overweight or very underweight mother, health professionals or parents can be aware of this and work to keep the baby at a healthy weight during childhood. Data shows that rapid weight gain early in life is linked with later development of obesity. Bottomline: if you are thinking of becoming pregnant work towards acheiving a more healthy weight through balanced diet and exercise before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant stick to the weight gain guidelines your physician recommends.