Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parenting from before conception: Babies' health doesn't 'start from scratch'

Date:
August 14, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
There's now overwhelming evidence that a child's future health is influenced by more than just their parents' genetic material, and that children born of unhealthy parents will already be pre-programmed for greater risk of poor health, according to researchers. "The reality is, the child doesn't quite start from scratch -- they already carry over a legacy of factors from their parents' experiences that can shape development in the fetus and after birth. Depending on the situation, we can give our children a burden before they've even started life," experts say.

"A few lifestyle changes by potential parents and improvements in the right direction, especially in the months leading up to conception, could have a lasting, positive benefit for the future of their child," a researcher says.
Credit: 2jenn / Fotolia

There's now overwhelming evidence that a child's future health is influenced by more than just their parents' genetic material, and that children born of unhealthy parents will already be pre-programmed for greater risk of poor health, according to University of Adelaide researchers.

Related Articles


In a feature paper called "Parenting from before conception" published in the journal Science, researchers at the University's Robinson Research Institute say environmental factors prior to conception have more influence on the child's future than previously thought.

"This really is a new frontier for reproductive and developmental research," says corresponding author and Director of the University's Robinson Research Institute, Professor Sarah Robertson.

"It's only been in the last 10 years that the science community has been seriously discussing these issues, and only in the last five years that we've begun to understand the mechanisms of how this is happening -- with much of the work conducted right here at the University of Adelaide."

The paper concludes that parental influences on a child begin before conception, because stored environmental factors in the egg and sperm are contributing more than just genetic material to the child.

"Many things we do in the lead up to conceiving is having an impact on the future development of the child -- from the age of the parents, to poor diet, obesity, smoking and many other factors, all of which influence environmental signals transmitted into the embryo," Professor Robertson says.

"People used to think that it didn't matter, because a child represented a new beginning, with a fresh start. The reality is, we can now say with great certainty that the child doesn't quite start from scratch -- they already carry over a legacy of factors from their parents' experiences that can shape development in the fetus and after birth. Depending on the situation, we can give our children a burden before they've even started life."

This includes a higher risk of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The likelihood of conditions like anxiety and immune dysfunction can also be affected.

Professor Robertson says current research is also showing that the fathers have a much greater role to play in this than previously thought.

Professor Robertson says this news is not all doom and gloom for would-be parents. "A few lifestyle changes by potential parents and improvements in the right direction, especially in the months leading up to conception, could have a lasting, positive benefit for the future of their child," she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Lane, R. L. Robker, S. A. Robertson. Parenting from before conception. Science, 2014; 345 (6198): 756 DOI: 10.1126/science.1254400

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Parenting from before conception: Babies' health doesn't 'start from scratch'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191347.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, August 14). Parenting from before conception: Babies' health doesn't 'start from scratch'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191347.htm
University of Adelaide. "Parenting from before conception: Babies' health doesn't 'start from scratch'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191347.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to reach your health goals this season, there are a few simple tips to help you spring clean your space and improve your nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the skinny on keeping a healthy home. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins