Pregnancy Diet: Impact of Unhealthy Eating Habits on Fetus’s Cardiovascular Health and Children’s Nutritional Needs

The potential impact of an expectant mother’s poor diet on the fetus’ health

Expectant mothers are advised to be mindful of their eating habits as they can have a significant impact on the health of their unborn child. A recent study conducted at the University of Turku found that an unhealthy diet during pregnancy can increase the fetus’ susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases later in life. Specialist researcher Ella Koivuniemi explains that pregnant women should consume five servings of plant products per day, but only half of the women in the study met this recommendation. Moreover, a third of the women did not consume vegetables daily.

Koivuniemi emphasizes that pregnant women need to receive enough nutrients to support both their own growth and development and that of their fetus. Vegetables, fruits, and berries are rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, which is essential for preventing birth defects. However, taking a folic acid supplement may not be enough; it should also be obtained through food. A severe lack of folic acid in the fetus can lead to neural tube closure disorder, which can cause developmental disorders.

During pregnancy, both the mother and fetus try to adapt to their environment, which can impact the child’s later life. For instance, a mother’s obesity and poor nutrient intake can affect the fetus’s metabolism, increasing the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes later in life. Epigenetic regulation plays a role in this process by modifying the phenotype of the fetus without changing its DNA.

The study also examined children under school age’s eating habits and found that most children did not consume enough vegetables and fruits. Only one percent of children ate five servings of vegetable products daily. The quality of children’s diets was also evaluated based on dairy products, sources of hard fat, and fiber-rich foods. Most children had diets of moderate or poor quality potentially due to factors such as busy lifestyles and lack of support.

In conclusion, expectant mothers and young children need proper nutrition to support their health and development. By following dietary recommendations and incorporating a variety of nutrient-rich foods into their diet, mothers can help ensure both themselves and their children’s well-being.

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