Pregnancy

The Bigger The Baby The Better They Do In School, So Go Have A Milkshake

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Fat babies are do better in schoolHey, pregnant ladies. I know you’ve been trying to watch how much weight you’re gaining. You’ve been trying to take in all those extra calories through salads and quinoa, you’re trying to get some exercise in, and you’re treating your pregnant body like an enormous, uncomfortable temple. That’s very noble. But you can put down the carrot sticks and pick up the carrot cake because your kid will be smarter for it. Hallelujah!

Typically, I take most of the studies that come out these days with a grain of salt. “Scientists find that pretzels have been on every crashed plane, therefore, pretzels cause plane crashes.” Or “Study shows that most murderers are someone’s neighbor.” But in this case, I would recommend closing your eyes and diving into the comforting arms of correlations, because a newly released study says that the higher a baby’s birth weight, the better it will do in school.

This study was huge – they looked at every single child born in Florida over an 11-year span. And they found that — even when controlling for other factors — babies with higher birth weights tended to perform better in school than babies with lighter birth weights. David N. Figlio, a co-author of the study who will now be known as “the favorite researcher of every pregnant woman who craves donuts,” told the New York Times that, “…all else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby.”

80 points on the SAT?! How amazingly meaningless!

And there is, of course, a “but” to this study.

Mr. Figlio…is quick to add that birth weight is not destiny. Its effects are considerably smaller than those of social class, for example. A lighter baby of well-educated parents is likely to do much better in life than a heavier baby of high-school dropouts.

Harvard grads, here’s your cake. High-school dropouts, have an apple and take a walk.

So maybe having a fat baby isn’t the difference between them becoming a phd candidate or someone who sells their plasma to make rent. Maybe there are a lot of other factors that are way more important that birth weight. But despite all the “buts,” these findings could mean something in terms of when we induce childbirth. If data like this continue to point to the fact that bigger babies are better off, then we should try to keep them in the womb and gaining weight for as long as is safely possible. Now, that will be sad news for those of who spent the last few weeks of our pregnancies beached on a coach, unable to pick up anything that fell on the floor, but perhaps the fact that we can now get away with eating more pie will get us through those extra days.

(Photo: Marlon Lopez MMG1 Design / Shutterstock)