Researchers hope a new study will be a major step in ending a cycle of obesity in New Zealand.
Researchers from the University of Auckland are looking for 150 pregnant women from the Counties Manukau area to participate in the first New Zealand study to look at obesity prevention through pregnancy intervention.
The study will test what effect probiotic capsules - which contain natural bacteria - and affordable dietary education have on both mothers and babies in the area.
"By improving nutrition in pregnancy we are hoping to optimise both infant birth weight and the mothers," Professor Lesley McCowan, the lead researcher, said.
"Our vision is to pave the way to reducing the intergenerational cycle of overweight and obesity and the long-term health consequences in New Zealand children, women, families and communities."
She said this in turn could lead to a decrease in rates of childhood obesity.
More than 250,000 New Zealand children were obese or overweight and pregnancy was a window of opportunity in which mothers were open to advice, she said.
Earlier this month, the Government release a plan aimed at addressing childhood obesity.