The fetus is more aware than many pregnant women understand. When pregnant women eat and drink certain things, the fetus can smell those foods and drinks and the development of the brain is altered. After birth, the food choices made by infants is thought to be directly related to this change in brain development. If mom loves broccoli and Brussels sprouts, baby is more apt to love those foods as well. On the flip side, if mom drinks alcohol during pregnancy, babies are more likely to enjoy alcohol as well.
Researchers are linking the finding to a potential means of fighting the effects of the rising obesity epidemic. If pregnancy diet is full of healthy, good food then baby will be less likely to turn to unhealthy foods as they grow older. If healthy food is more appealing overeating could be curbed and fewer people who grow up overweight and obese.
While researchers studied the effects of maternal diet on mouse pups, the outcome for humans expected to be very similar. Mice are mammals and so are humans. According to Josephine Todrank PhD, "What an expectant mother chooses to eat and drink has long-term effects - for better or worse - on her child's sensory anatomy as well his or her odor memory and food preferences in the future. It is not yet clear how long these changes and preferences last, but we are currently investigating that question."
Source: Josephine Todrank PhD and associates. University of Colorado Denver. 3 December, 2010.