Why is what you eat during pregnancy so important?
We seem to know already that what we eat has an impact on our health.
It also affects your child's future health.
This is due to epigenetics. On the one hand, we have information stored in our genes, but our environment, which includes what we eat, decides whether this information will be implemented or not.
In other words, even if you have a genetic predisposition to hypertension, what you eat and what lifestyle you have determines whether you will have hypertension or not.
Genes in many situations are not a set sentence, but rather availability, which you may take due to lifestyle and food choices.
When talking about fetal development and epigenetics, a phrase nutritional programming is used. A situation in which, despite the constant information stored in the child's genes, how you eat and what nutrients you provide during pregnancy, have a huge impact on what his health will look like.
One of the most frequently discussed topics regarding nutritional programming is malnutrition during pregnancy. It raises the risk of obesity and civilization diseases for child.
Why is this happening?
When the fetuses develop, and they do not get sufficient amounts of nutrients and energy, the so-called "thrifty phenotype" develops. The most important organ is the brain. That is why in rest organs and tissues changes occur that are supposed to enable its optimal development. These changes include disorders in functioning of beta-cells of the pancreas, nephrons or cardiomyocytes. As a result, in later years, children whose mothers were malnourished at the time of pregnancy had a greater risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or obesity.
An example is children who were born shortly after the war in Denmark. Their mothers were at high risk of severe malnutrition at the time. In adulthood, a higher risk of obesity was observed in children and grandchildren of these women. Epigenetic changes can reach even the second generation.
It is said that you are what you eat, but in the first period of life you could say that you are what your mother ate :)
Malnutrition of the mother during pregnancy results in a lower birth weight, more preterm deliveries and a lower mass of placenta, which in turn inhibits intrauterine growth.
In the first two years of life, the child can be go through the rebound effect. The body will want to catch up on to its potential growth encoded in the genes. This leads to overweight or obesity in the later years of life.
Equally unfavorable for the child is maternal obesity during pregnancy. It poses greater risk for:
the need for an cesarean delivery
complications during delivery
One cannot fail to mention plantbased diets. Nutrition based mainly on plants gives a lot of benefits not only for you but also for the child. Pregnant women on a vegetarian diet have a lower risk of developing preeclampsia or nausea. In their bodies there is also much less pollution like heavy metals or dioxins that pass through the placenta and pose a threat to the fetus.
Another element of nutritional programming is appropriate supplementation.
* omega 3 (you will find the entire chapter in e-book dedicated to them)
* multivitamin supplements
* probiotics, appropriate supplements may reduce the risk of allergies in a child
Breastfeeding is a huge element of nutritional programming. The benefits for the child are both short- and long-term. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of infection as well as cases of civilization diseases later in life.
Proper nutrition during pregnancy also has very tangible benefits. This is what you eat during this period predicts your child's food preferences. If you are pregnant and your diet mainly consists of low-processed products, lots of vegetables and fruits your child will be happy to reach for them. But if you eat processed foods, chips, ice cream, candy bars or sweet drinks, convincing your child to eat broccoli will be much more difficult.
Want to know more about the role of nutrition during pregnancy and how it should look?
Get the E-book, I created so that you have in one place all the information you need about nutrition during this period
Remember that it is best to consult supplementation or bigger diet changes with your doctor or a clinical dietitian. You can order individually prepared meal plan in the store.
Nutrition during pregnancy
Everything you need to know about nutrition to ensure proper development of your baby.
How and what you eat during pregnancy is really important for your baby.
If you want to ensure the best envoirment for him or her to develop check out this material.
You'll get a comprehensive guide with both facts and practical tips on how to eat best for you and your baby.