Washington: A new study suggests pregnant women may want to put down the bag of chips, walk away from those prepackaged snacks and put the tub of margarine back in the fridge if they don't want to birth bigger babies -- and that's especially true during the second trimester.

According to a study published in the upcoming November issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pregnant women who consumed foods high in trans fats -- synthetic fats found in processed foods -- were more likely to give birth to bigger babies.

After examining the dietary habits of nearly 1,370 pregnant women, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the consumption of trans fats in the second trimester was positively linked to an increase in fetal growth.

No such associations were observed in the first trimester.

It's the second study on trans fats and reproduction to come out of Harvard in recent days. Last week, British publication The Sun also highlighted another Harvard study -- carried out jointly with the University of Murcia in Spain -- which found that junk food high in trans fats can damage sperm in otherwise healthy, young men.

Even those of healthy weight who exercised regularly were found to have weakened sperm when they ate junk food compared to men who followed diets high in fish and vegetables.

Foods that contain trans fats include margarine, prepared soup cups and instant noodles, commercial snacks, cakes, candies and confectionery, fast and frozen foods.

(Courtesy: Mid-day.com)