Every mother wants to have an easy, uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy child. Unfortunately, more and more women experience pregnancy complications, such as anemia, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, diabetes, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
More children are born with birth defects and many of those who appear normal at birth go on to develop health problems later in life.
One in 10 kids will have ADHD, one in 150 will become autistic. Children are affected by anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Kids develop type 2 diabetes, which was unheard of just 20 years ago.
Experts agree that most of these problems can be reduced and even preceded by proper nutrition during pregnancy.
Mother's nutrition has an affect not only on the pregnancy and on the infant's birth weight, but even on the risk of birth defects, pregnancy complications, maternal illness, and future diseases when the child becomes an adult.
Nutrients reduce pregnancy complications and birth defects
Studies show that proper diet and nutritional supplements, such as fish oil, vitamins C and E can prevent mother's illness during pregnancy and premature birth. Vitamin A and beta-carotene along with magnesium, fish oil, and zinc can reduce maternal mortality. Iron and folic acid reduce anemia. Calcium reduces the incidence of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure.
According to the Journal of Nutrition:
"Numerous studies support the concept that a major cause of pregnancy complications can be suboptimal nutrition."
"Frequency and severity of pregnancy complications may be reduced through an improvement in the nutrient status of the mother."
"Maternal nutritional deficiencies … may be significant contributors to the occurrence of birth defects."
Maternal nutrition will affect the rest of the child's life
Medical research shows that good nutrition during pregnancy and childhood can reduce baby's risk of future cancer.
Proper maternal nutritional supplementation can reduce the risk of diabetes later in child's life.
Certain specific deficiencies (for example magnesium) can also increase the risk of future diabetes.
Even the risk of future osteoporosis (in a baby when he or she becomes an adult) is determined by "maternal nutritional status during pregnancy" and especially by vitamin D deficiency, which is very common.
Most pregnant women are deficient
Unfortunately, most pregnant women are deficient in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are part of the brain, central nervous system, and the retina. A baby needs them for normal development of the brain and the eyes.
Premature infants are more likely to have ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia, because their brains did not have a chance to fully develop and incorporate all the DHA it needed. On the other hand, children of mothers who eat large amount of fatty fish have better intellectual development and higher IQs.
The problem is that almost 90% of women do not get even the minimal amount of DHA. Many women are deficient in folic acid, despite food fortification. Deficiencies of magnesium, calcium, iron, vitaminsC, D, E, and many other nutrients are very common, which can jeopardize the health of both the mother and the baby.
Do not count on prenatal multivitamin – it does not work
The sad truth is that a typical prescription prenatal vitamin does not correct most deficiencies, which are extremely common in pregnant women.
Prenatal multivitamin is a poor source of nutrients. All the ingredients are synthetic, so your body can not use them the way it uses natural nutrients from food.
Plus it is loaded with chemicals, such as crospovidone, FD & C Red No. 40 aluminum lake, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, mineral oil light, polysorbate 80, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearic acid, syloid, titanium dioxide and triethyl citrate. Either you nor your baby need these chemicals. They do not help, but can only cause harm.
How can you be sure to have the most optimal nutrition
Eat a good diet. This means eat natural foods. Oatmeal is natural, but cereal made from oats that looks like little donuts is not. Steak is natural, but luncheon meat is not. Eggs are natural, eggbeaters are synthetic unnatural junk.
In other words, eat food the way it is naturally produced and avoid processed, man-made foods. This usually means avoiding anything that comes in boxes, cans, and plastic packages and anything that has expiration date months from today. Real food spoils, junk food is loaded with preservatives, so it can last for a long time.
Eat fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, berries, meat, chicken, lamb, eggs, cheese, butter, and any other natural food that you like. Seafood and fish are usually OK, but eat large fish (salmon, tuna, etc.) in moderation because of potentially high mercury content.
Try to minimize soda, ice cream, cookies, white bread and white rice, most breakfast cereals, and any other processed foods.
But even eating a good diet may be leave you deficient in important nutrients. That is why I recommend nutritional supplements.
As I mentioned, prenatal vitamins that you doctor prescribed is nothing but junk. It is a combination of synthetic chemicals, some of which may even be harmful for the developing baby.
You should take only supplements that are made from real food. There is a company called Standard Process that has been producing food-based supplements since 1920s. They grow fruits and vegetables on their own certified organic farm. They dehydrate them using a patented low-heat high-vacuum process that retains all the nutrients. Think of it as turning a grape into a raisin. Raisins have all the same nutrients as grapes, except for water.
They also use organ meats (liver, kidney, etc) from organic cows because they have very high nutrient content. They combine different ingredients to create various nutritional supplements. There is nothing artificial, no preservatives, no chemicals, only real food with real nutrients.
It is never too early or too late to start. Whether you are just planning your pregnancy or are in the 3rd trimester, you need proper nutrition at every stage.
This is the program I recommend to my patients:
· Catalyn – a natural multivitamin / multimineral made from 12 different foods
· Folic Acid B12 – for extra folic acid and B12
· Ferrofood – natural organic iron
· Calcium lactate – natural calcium and magnesium from beats
· TunaOmega oil – naturally pure source of DHA and EPA, guaranteed free of mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals
All these are from Standard Process. They are only available through health practitioners, so go on their web site and find a doctor near you. Or you can call my office at 718-769-0997 if you can not find anyone locally.
The important point is this. If you want to have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy, well-developed baby, eat real food and take food-based nutritional supplements.