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Pregnancy is a sensitive stage where your baby needs to grow in optimal conditions with the right amounts of nutrients for healthy growth and development. During this stage, a mother’s nutrition can have long-term effects on her baby's health. Here are 4 surprising diet facts that can affect your baby's health during or even well after pregnancy.
Fact #1: A vegan diet can impede your baby’s development
Strict vegan diets are usually lacking in certain nutrients including iron, vitamin B12, calcium and omega-3. During pregnancy, you’ll need a higher than normal intake for some of these nutrients so your vegan diet might give you a hard time meeting your pregnancy needs. That being said, a carefully planned vegan diet is perfectly safe and can give you the right amounts of these nutrients although you might need some supplementation. A dietician can help you go through your diet plan to see if it has sufficient levels of certain nutrients.
Fact #2: Folic acid can help reduce certain birth defects
Taking folic acid supplements is vital during pregnancy since it reduces the chance of your baby getting a neural tube defect (brain and spine defects) which may lead to paralysis or intellectual disability. Another nutrient that can help reduce the chances of neural tube defects is vitamin B12. Make sure you’re taking the right amounts of these nutrients by consulting a doctor. Folic acid supplements are usually recommended before conception and throughout pregnancy.
Fact #3: Obesity can increase your baby’s risk of having certain health issues
The dangers of obesity are well-known to most people. But did you know that obesity can put your baby at risk of many health problems including those with life-long effects? Obesity is associated with an increased risk of a bunch of complications including miscarriages, preterm birth, still birth, a larger than normal baby and birth defects such heart and neural tube defects. Babies born with more fat have an increased chance of becoming obese in the future. One study even suggested that children born to obese parents may be at risk of experiencing developmental delays!
Fact #4: Craving for non-food items can harm your baby.
During pregnancy, some women develop an eating disorder called pica in which they get a craving for non-food items like clay, dirt or even soap! Eating these non-food items can be dangerous for both you and your baby so make sure you notify your doctor immediately if you experience these cravings. You probably don't want poisoning, digestive issues or an infection lingering around while pregnant