How your body uses vital nutrients during pregnancy today as well as long-term effects.
Never before have we known so much about how your baby’s growth and long-term health is affected by pregnancy nutrition.
Did you ever wonder how the foods you eat today get used by your baby and your body? Here is a quick look at some of the vital nutrients and their crucial role during pregnancy:
Grows new tissues for baby and mother and helps with milk production for breastfeeding.
Forms baby’s and mother’s skeleton and teeth.
Produces additional blood and supplies baby’s iron stores needed in the liver.
Helps to development cells as well as grow teeth and bones.
Forms new tissues and connective tissues. Also helps mother to absorb iron.
Prevents neural tube defects and helps to increase mother’s red blood cells.
These vital nutrients help the baby to grow and develop as well as to grow and sustain new tissue to keep your pregnancy healthy. There is new evidence that shows that nutrition during pregnancy affects your baby’s long-term health. In his book, The Prenatal Prescription, Dr. Peter Nathanielsz explains that the lack of vital nutrients can actually contribute to illnesses or diseases that the child may develop later in life.
Here is one example of how this might work:
- When the nutrient supply to the baby is low, the baby must compensate.
- The baby’s body reacts by sending available blood supply to the essential organs (heart, brain) and re-routing the blood away from organs such as the liver.
- This causes the baby to grow a smaller liver.
- This organ then performs at less than 100% throughout life.
- Since the liver is crucial in regulating cholesterol, a liver which does not function well can result in high cholesterol later in life.
- If the liver and pancreas are both affected by inadequate nutrition, it is more likely to lead to adult-onset (Type2) diabetes.
Nathanielsz also found that a lack of vital nutrients (or under-nutrition) at various stages in the mother’s pregnancy could increase the chances for the baby to develop hypertension and heart disease as an adult, as well as affecting her tendency to gain weight, intelligence, susceptibility to cancer and ability to resist infection.
Pregnancy Nutrition affecting Health of Grandchildren
And the long-term health effects just got longer! Nathanielsz even discovered that the effects of prenatal under-nutrition can be passed down from one generation to another. So what you eat on a daily basis not only affects the health of your own baby but can also affect the health of your grandchildren!