A baby's long term health is decided in the first 1000 days of its conception, including the nine months spent in womb, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Southampton University.
According to lead researcher Professor David Barker, almost all aspects of a person's health can be linked to when the baby is still in the womb. The researchers identified a number of critical stages in a child's development and said that if the conditions were not perfect, then it would affect the long term health of the child.
For example, a baby had a higher risk of developing heart problems in the future if the birth weight is lighter. The researcher said that a baby weighing 5lb 7oz at birth was twice as likely of dying from a heart problem compared to a baby weighing 9lb 7oz.
Professor Barker said that it was very important for women to maintain their health before and after conceiving. "It is about building a body that the baby can live off. The baby lives off the mother's body, not what she snacks on during pregnancy. What we are seeing is a window of opportunity where we can make better people", he said.