A growing number of researchers believe a mother’s nutritional status before and during pregnancy, may be one of the critical periods in our lives with respect to developing optimal health.
Influencing everything from brain function, IQ and even fat metabolism, a mother’s nutrition during pregnancy (and even before pregnancy) may be the single most important factor in determining lifelong health for your child.
The idea that a mother’s nutritional status can have an effect on a child’s future health is not a new concept. The theory, first proposed by British researcher David J. Barker in the 1980s, has even spawned a new field of study called “The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.”
Many conditions such as: certain cancers, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, mental illness and some degenerative conditions have already been studied for their fetal origins.
In short, the environment – particularly the environment within the womb – has the ability to re-write your genes and determine your future health.
Unfortunately, other than suggesting mothers take a multivitamin and folic acid supplements, moms-to-be are given very little nutritional advice. Hardly any are given “pre-conception” nutritional advice.
Here are some general nutritional recommendations during pregnancy. Everyone is slightly different so make sure you speak to your healthcare provider for more specific recommendations:
Do not diet. Now is not the time to go low calorie. You are, in fact, eating for two. Weight gain is a natural part of the process.
Eat green, leafy vegetables every day. Include some fruit, such as berries.
Increase carbs, but make sure they are the right kind. Pastas, rice and grains while high in carbohydrate content, carry very little nutritional value compared to vegetables and starchy tubers, like sweet potatoes and yams.
Increase good fats. Wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, nuts, butter, omega 3 supplements, olive oil are just some examples of good, healthy fats.
Avoid sugar and packaged foods. Junk food carries very little nutritional value and is full of chemicals. To stave off cravings, opt for protein and fat instead.
These recommendations, based on whole, nutrient dense foods, will help give your child a head start in life.