Study: Urine sample could help predict birth weight - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Study: Urine sample could help predict birth weight

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A simple urine test may help pregnant women have a positive influence on their baby's birth weight. New research shows some seemingly simple lifestyle changes that could make a big difference.

Elizabeth Donnelly is about to become a mother for the first time. Now eight months along, she's starting to think more about her son's arrival including how much he'll weigh.

"We have talked about it kind of generally with our doctor, what is normal, what we can expect," said Donnelly.

New research at Imperial College London may take away some of the uncertainty.

"The aim of this study was to look for metabolites in the urine of pregnant women and to see if these could predict birthweight," said Muireann Coen, study co-author. 

In the largest study of its kind, researchers looked at urine samples and the lifestyles of 800 pregnant women.

The samples revealed several birth weight indicators that women can control including their vitamin D levels, exercise and diet.

Researchers say eating protein packed foods rich in vital nutrients called branched-chain amino acids made a big difference in the third trimester when babies grow the most.

The study found a 50 percent increase in those BCAA's could mean a weight gain of as much as 2 and a half percent.

"If we can find ways to intervene and modify the level of these metabolites then we would be able to ensure that healthy birth weight," said Mireille Toledano, study co-author.

Low and abnormal birth weights have been linked to chronic diseases like obesity and type- 2 diabetes.

Doctors hope this test could be another tool for new moms to give their babies a healthy start.

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