Does Your Diet While Pregnant Affect Your Baby’s Development?

by James Doss

Does Your Diet While Pregnant Affect Your Baby's Development? Does Your Diet While Pregnant Affect Your Baby's Development?

Does Your Diet While Pregnant Affect Your Baby’s Development? Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “eating for two,” and now that you’re pregnant, you’re wondering if it applies to you. Before you break out the fast food and ice cream, it’s essential to consider what to eat while pregnant and how it impacts your baby’s development.

You’ve heard of the ill effects of drinking while pregnant and know to abstain from alcohol until after delivery. However, you might not have heard how your diet can similarly affect your infant’s growth. Here’s more about the best pregnancy foods for the health of your little one.

Diet and Pregnancy

When you become pregnant, it’s easy to feel inundated with food cravings and urges to eat more than you should. Some can be OK, but moms-to-be must maintain a healthy diet while expecting. A study published by the London Royal Veterinary College determined women can put their children at risk of lifelong health issues like obesity and high cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Female children are especially at risk of developing these health issues.

The researchers tested rats and followed the offspring throughout adolescence and adulthood. The scientists noticed the offspring whose mothers ate junk food were more overweight than the control group. They showed signs of developing Type 2 diabetes and had high blood pressure and cholesterol.

This test was conducted on animals, but the American Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology and the British Medical Journal published studies with similar findings in human subjects. This shows that the more weight a mother gains, the more likely it will be for a child to become obese.

What to Eat and Drink While Pregnant

To consume a healthy diet while pregnant, you’ll only need 340 to 450 additional calories a day. This will likely add up quickly, so be careful not to overdo it. Consider nutritious fruits and vegetables or lean meat or fish to add quality calories to support your baby’s development.

Eat foods that contain these crucial vitamins and nutrients:

  • Folic acids are essential during pregnancy, even before you conceive. They contribute to your baby’s blood and protein production and prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. You can find the nutrient in leafy greens, beans, peas, yellow fruits and nuts.
  • Calcium is another crucial nutrient easily found in milk, dairy products, spinach and salmon. Your baby needs calcium for bone and teeth development, nerve function and muscle contraction.
  • Vitamin B12 supports the formation of your baby’s red blood cells. You can find it in meat, fish and milk.

Remember, it’s never safe to drink alcohol during your pregnancy. Any amount can be unsafe while you’re expecting and can lead to several developmental issues for your baby. However, drinking an 8-ounce cup of coffee is OK with most doctors. If you have questions about caffeine consumption during pregnancy, reach out to your practitioner.

The Best for Your Baby

When it comes to the most nutritious diet for your baby, aim for one packed with folic acid, calcium and vitamin B12. Remember, all you need is an additional 450 calories a day, so make them count by ensuring they’re beneficial. Your baby’s growth and development depend on what you consume.

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