Pregnancy

Photo credit: David Salafia

A healthy pregnancy builds the foundation for a child’s lifelong health.

During pregnancy, babies are entirely dependent on their mothers for the nutrition they need to help their bodies grow and develop properly. How important is mom’s nutrition during pregnancy? For starters, it fuels the development of a baby’s rapidly growing brain so by the time that a baby is born their brain will contain 100 billion neurons! The quality of a mother’s diet during pregnancy can also affect her future child’s metabolism and his risk of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease later in life.

Moms need to eat a nutritious diet during pregnancy for the sake of their own health as well as that of their babies. A healthy diet during pregnancy helps ensure that a baby is born at a healthy weight—not too big or too small—which reduces the risks of complications at birth and future health problems for baby. Mom’s diet during pregnancy even sets the stage for a child’s food preferences later in life. Incredibly, babies’ senses of smell and taste begin to develop during the first trimester, which means all the early “tasting” a baby does in utero can influence the kinds of food he will like later in life. So pregnancy is the best time to start training those tiny taste buds.

What You Need to Know

  • During pregnancy, baby “eats” what mom eats. All the nutrients a baby gets comes from mom.

  • Moms need a healthy diet of foods rich in folic acid, iron and other key nutrients to support their baby’s growth and brain development.

  • A child’s lifelong health—including his predispositions to certain diseases—can be shaped by the quality of his mother’s nutrition.

  • Mom’s prenatal diet can influence a baby’s taste preferences.