This month we are focusing on making a difference for our children. Let’s start even before they are born.
Pregnancy often causes women who are not particularly health-conscious to develop an interest in nutrition. Women are very concerned about the proper diet to support their babies.
During an average week in Texas…7,163 babies are born, 41 babies die before reaching their first birthday, 948 babies are born prematurely, and 250 babies are born with a major structural birth defect. These facts come from the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies.
Not to alarm anyone, but if you’re planning to get pregnant, you may want to drink filtered or bottled water until your baby is born. To understand why, read the report issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Environmental Working Group, which says that tens of thousands of Texas women are at increased risk of miscarrying or of having children with birth defects because of toxic chemicals that appear in water as a result of chlorination (the report is available online at http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/home). Some of our Texas cities have excellent public water supplies…ratings are available at that site.
All women of childbearing age (15-45) are encouraged to consume at least 0.4 mg of folic acid each day. This should start at least a month before the baby is conceived. Research has shown that adequate consumption of folic acid can prevent a birth defect called spina bifida, a condition resulting from failure of the spine to close properly during early pregnancy. This birth defect occurs within the first six weeks of pregnancy.
But findings are most pregnant women who were taking folic acid started during pregnancy – most at around six weeks. That’s too late as the neural tube, which becomes the brain and spine, has already formed. Folic acid is a vitamin found in enriched grain and cereal products, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, asparagus, some seeds and nuts and dried beans.
Iron-deficiency anemia prevails in nine to sixteen percent of women aged 12 to 49. People at risk for the deficiency are encouraged to eat iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, fish and poultry, enriched grain products, fruits and leafy vegetables.
Women who eat at least five daily servings of vitamin C rich produce before and during pregnancy may lower their risk of dangerously high blood pressure. The condition, known as pre-eclampsia, can threaten the lives of expectant moms and their babies. The women who consumed fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day a year before delivery had nearly double the risk of pre-eclampsia. Vitamin E and other anti-oxidants in fresh fruits and veggies help arteries stay flexible.
Studies show that a high fiber diet can reduce the risk of toxemia. Women who consume high-fat diets are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. The consumption of trans-fat has been shown to correlate with premature birth and low birth weight and trans-fat appears to increase a mother’s risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. And, women who develop pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.
Women who consume the most refined sugar are twice as likely to deliver a low birth weight baby as women who consume the least amount of it. Milk and dairy products seem to promote leg cramps during pregnancy. Reducing or eliminating dairy, while replacing those foods with plant alternatives (also sources of calcium), may be advisable.
A diet comprised mostly of complex carbohydrates, raw plant foods, less animal products and fat, proper hydration, and a reduction in consumption of processed and refined foods is appropriate for pregnant women.
We can all agree that nutrition during pregnancy is important, but one of the overlooked benefits of eating a proper diet during pregnancy is that a child’s taste for food begins in the womb. The flavors from a mother’s diet during pregnancy and from breast milk are transferred to the baby and the baby tends to like those foods. Flavors from food appear in the amniotic fluid the baby floats in, as well as in mothers’ milk.
This is not surprising, since we all know that your cravings for foods are somewhat determined by what you eat, and can be changed by changing your diet. This also explains why some children don’t have a taste for these foods as well.
What a great opportunity this presents for moms to be – eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and plant foods while you’re pregnant and nursing, and it will be easier to get your child to do so when it is time to eat solid food. A great side benefit is that moms will be the healthiest they have ever been as well!
Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maryellajuiceplus.com