A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Like many, I was quite nauseated during the first trimester of my pregnancy with V. Nothing extreme, but my nausea and sensitivities conveniently turned me off to meat, vegetables and fish, and turned me onto anything based in bread and covered in melted cheese. Sauce in between a plus, not a must. Where I fell short on salads, grilled chicken and salmon, I compensated with a diet mainly focusing in on the noodle and pizza food groups (undervalued, in my opinion). This diet suited my new, sedentary lifestyle in which I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch feeling really, really, likereallyreallyreally tired.
Essentially, I was living the dream. I’d always envisioned spending my first pregnancy “enjoying myself,” which is code for “binge-eating all the sinful foods of which I’d deprived myself during decades of mindful eating because I can finally just get fat and no one will judge me.”
We all reach for our own, personal stars.
Oh sure, on the one hand, I knew this was not the healthiest way to be and that I might regret it postpartum. On the other hand, I thought: Shut up. ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT? Pass the ziti. Now leave us, ziti and I wish to be alone.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my third trimester. It’s a condition that affects a lot of pregnant women and strikes somewhat randomly. But even if my carb-loving ways didn’t cause the issue, they needed to be swiftly axed if there was any hope of managing it and not giving birth to a 15 lb. baby giant. At the time, I was furious and disappointed and, more than anything, I just wanted to house a pizza all the time. And a carton of ice cream. And a cake. And
47 a bowl s of pasta. And sixteen sleeves of Oreos and girl scout cookies and a giant bag of gummy bears. Deprivation diets really aren’t my thing.
Now it seems I should be grateful for my good luck, and so should V. A new study out from Yale University suggests that obese moms can set their kids on a track for obesity before they’ve even made it out of the womb with the food choices they make. Using mice, researchers determined that pregnant females fed a high fat diet during gestation had offspring that “had impaired connections in brain neurons that regulate glucose and help control when they’re hungry and full and how fat gets broken down,” according to NPR’s blog, The Salt.
Well, pretty obvious. Fat moms beget fat kids, right? Wrong.
Okay, half right. Turns out that they saw the same results in non-obese mice who were only fed a high fat diet during lactation (which is the equivalent of humans’ third trimester in terms of brain development). So that means the average Jane who decides she’s already a beached whale at 30 weeks preggo so she may as well come down hard on that lumberjack special—extra bacon—could be unwittingly pre-programming her kid for a lifetime of making bad choices and having a tough time undoing them.
That sounds eerily familiar. I think I just hurt my own feelings. Ahem. Excuse me, while I make a note to call my mother and quiz her in great detail as to what she ate late in her pregnancy with me.
Anyway, these are mice and not people, therefore clearly this isn’t a definitive ruling. So don’t put down that Krispy Kreme bacon burger yet, my gestating sisters-in-carbs. Except, put down that Krispy Kreme bacon burger, you disgusting lady-beast! Because according to the same NPR piece, Harvard researchers published a study last year which found a link between moms who gained too much pregnancy weight and an increased likelihood of obesity in their children.
Sigh. It seems I will never have the opportunity to live out my dream of spending an entire nine month period simply drowning myself in Italian food. When will we ever be together, never-ending pasta bowl? Wait for me, my darling. We will find a way.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter at @NinaPajak!