- by Dr. Sahana K P
- 2 Shares
- Nov 18 2017
PRENATAL HABITS AND EARLY LIFE INFLUENCES ON KIDS
The ill effects of unhealthy pregnancy habits do not always show up at the time of birth or in the initial years. Most prenatal and perinatal practices tend to exhibit results in the long run. While preterm birth, miscarriages, low birth weight are some of the immediate effects of a poor pregnancy routine, there are several long-term conditions that pose serious threat to the well-being of children.
It is common knowledge that genes play an important role in obesity. However, studies have proved that early life influences, beginning right from the intrauterine environment shape the pattern of weight gain in humans. Several factors like gestational weight gain, smoking, poor diet have a critical role to play in determining a child’s propensity to put on extra weight in the future. Infants exposed to prenatal smoking weigh less at birth than those born to non-smoking mothers. However, some studies found that such kids generally experience an accelerated and inconsistent weight gain in the formative years, making them more likely to be obese.
Similarly, a nutrition devoid pregnancy diet causes children to store more fat later in life and alters their response towards diet and lifestyle changes. Obesity, in turn, triggers various other health complications such as diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and heart diseases. Childhood obesity is complex and difficult to capture until obesity has been established. However, developing healthy prenatal habits surely lead the way in ensuring a healthy baby.
It is likely that prenatal conditions and early life influences affect the development of allergic reactions in children. There is longstanding evidence to suggest that babies exposed to tobacco in the uterus are more prone to develop asthma, chronic respiratory infections or suffer some form of lung damage. Mothers who follow a well-balanced diet have infants with significantly reduced chances of developing food allergies, skin disorders, hives, eczema, and gastrointestinal disorders. One cannot completely prevent allergies in babies but steps can be taken to reduce the probabilities.
Brain Development and Cognitive Functioning
Most women are interested in knowing how to make their babies smart in the womb. Prenatal nutrition and vitamins are critical in enhancing fetal brain development. A poor prenatal diet that is high in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar and salt can affect brain development, leading to lower IQ and behavioral problems. An unhealthy diet restricts the growth of neurons. Nutrition and growth factors regulate brain development, while the biological attributes of maternal prenatal disease, psychological distress, and inadequate nutrient intake affect it.
High doses of toxins during pregnancy can alter the activity of the offspring’s genes without causing genetic mutation. Prenatal uterus exposure to nicotine has also been linked to ADHD, ODD, and other anxiety disorders. Scientists believe drug exposure could restrict naturally occurring compounds in the embryonic brain which join up nerves and promote foetal growth. Alcohol consumption, smoking, and exposure to stress can cause certain epigenetic changes at birth that can make the child more inclined towards aggressive behaviour.
A baby’s short-term and long-term health critically depends on the mother’s nutritional status both before and during pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy diet should reflect a combination of macro and micronutrients and all forms of Otherwise, without making conscious, informed choices about your nutrition your baby is susceptible to a variety of diseases and complications.
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