The level of the nutrient creatine in a pregnant woman could affect the size of their baby, Melbourne researchers say.
An early study by the Hudson Institute of Medical Research showed women who had less of the naturally occurring acid in their urine had significantly smaller babies.
Dr Hayley Dickinson, head of embryology at Hudson Institute and Monash University’s Ritchie Centre, said more than 850 women would take part in a longitudinal study to find out more.
“We’re not sure yet whether it in itself is good for babies, or whether it is a measure of being good for babies,” she told 774 ABC Melbourne.
“We have observed in women with a lot of creatine in their urine, that their babies are less likely to be too small, so their growth is a little better.
“The babies from mothers with more creatine are a little longer.”
Dr Dickinson said creatine, which is often used by athletes in supplements, was both made in the body and also came from the consumption of meat.
“You get about half of what you need from synthesis within the body, and your kidneys and your liver primarily make your creatine,” she said.
“The other half you get from a diet containing meat and fish.
“We’re really interested in the role the placenta is playing in getting the creatine to that baby.”
Research to look at mother’s diet
During the study, the pregnant women’s blood and urine will be tested, as well as the placenta and chord blood to test the amount of creatine a fetus might be receiving.
The research will also look at what the woman eats.
“We’re really interested in what the mum eats across that time so we can get a really nice correlation betweens mum’s diet, her creatine levels and the growth and wellbeing of her baby,” Dr Dickinson said.
However, she said the early findings should not prompt pregnant women to change their diets.
“Women can get adequate creatine from their diet so I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone rush out and start taking creatine supplements, we’re a long way from that,” she said.
“But if women make sure they’re eating plenty of fresh meat and fish, then they’re going to be getting adequate creatine for themselves and their baby during pregnancy.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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