By Andy Merrett
Apr 20, 2010
Pregnancy roundup: high fat diet cancer link; smoking and low sperm count
High fat diet and cancer
A new study suggests that a high-fat diet during pregnancy can have a knock-on health effect two generations of females down the line.
The US study suggests that a junk food diet may cause genetic changes that can lead to breast cancer in both daughters and granddaughters.
One could argue that the findings are superfluous at one level, because mothers are already recommended to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
However, despite the fact that the experiments were conducted on rats, it does add fuel to the argument that environmental factors can cause inheritable genetic changes.
Smoking linked to low sperm count in sons
There are surely enough health reasons already to discourage expectant mothers from smoking during pregnancy, but if they weren’t enough, consider adding infertility of sons to that list.
Leading reproductive biologist, Professor Richard Sharpe, suggests that damage done in the womb from exposure of the unborn male to cigarette smoke can be even greater than that caused by a man smoking in later life.
“This review reminds us that the sperm production capacity of men is probably established quite early in life and perhaps even before they are born,” said male fertility expert, Dr Allan Pacey. “This highlights the importance of women having healthy pregnancies and not exposing their baby to harmful chemicals, such as cigarette smoke.”