a pregnant mother’s diet might affect their baby’s health—NO—you don’t say? Shari Roan of The Los Angeles Times reports:Wait,
Multiple studies have shown that either underfeeding or overfeeding the fetus during pregnancy can affect how a child's body will respond to food over a lifetime, increasing the risk for diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.Eating right during pregnancy is a hot-button issue for Dr. Fuhrman. He talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s an excerpt:
Pioneering research in the late 1980s by British physician David Barker showed that babies weighing 6 pounds or less are more likely to have an increased risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It is the disparity between the prenatal environment and the nutritional environment after birth that appears to cause abnormalities in energy metabolism, endocrine functions and organ development.
Given the modern environment of preschoolers in Western countries -- marked by a lack of exercise, and diets high in calories, fat and sugar -- this disparity creates a problem, Barker and other researchers say.
"The fetus is reading the environment during development and is using that to predict what the environment will be once it's born," says Jerry Heindel, a fetal-programming expert at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "If the fetus gets poor nutrition, it will set itself up to be able to adjust to that. If it has poor nutrition during life, it will do quite well. But later in life, if nutrition changes and becomes like the food we're eating today, that is a mismatch, and that will increase the susceptibility to disease."
The time to begin paying attention to a child’s health is long before birth. Even the mother’s diet twelve months before conception can influence the child’s future health. It is important to eat healthfully prior to conception as well as once pregnancy has begun. Proper nutrition and good health habits are more important than ever during pregnancy and can help in maintaining good health for both mother and baby.Perhaps even more important are those foods mothers should completely avoid while pregnant. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
- Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
- Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
- Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
- Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
- Hot tubs and saunas
- Household clear, paint thinners
- Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
- Raw milk and cheese
- Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
- Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
- Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats