Monday, October 3, 2011

Best Nutrition for Fetal Development


Best Fetal Development Depends on a Mother's Good Nutrition. Healthy fetal development is a vital concern for everyone who's going to have a baby. This is a brief look at good nutrition for mothers-to-be, including the most common missing nutrient needed for best fetal development.

Good food choices and good supplements are never more important for a woman than when she's pregnant. Her developing baby is depending completely on the nutrition being passed on through the mother's body.

The foods that are healthy for anyone are more important than ever during pregnancy. If your favorite foods aren't particularly nutritious, now's the time to add as many of these as you can -- at least a few servings a week:

You might be tired of hearing this, but vegetables and fruits are great foods for yourself and your baby, and few of us get enough. The best are the deeply colored salad vegetables like spinach leaves or deep-green lettuce like romaine.

Bell peppers -- red, yellow, orange or green -- tomatoes, broccoli, carrots (the last three are great either raw or cooked) are a few. One secret is to eat as much as you want of the ones you like, and just a little of a wide variety of others.

If you don't like most vegetables but you love certain fruit, go for it: berries, especially blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are champs for nutrition. You like citrus fruit? Apples? Nectarines? All wonderful foods, so enjoy!

Try for leaner meats and more fish in your diet -- not full-fat hamburger.
If after considering all that, you really can't stomach the big improvements in diet you know you need, it's a very good idea to take good supplements during pregnancy. (Of course, it's still a great idea even if you're a healthy eater -- you and your baby need the best nutrition now more than ever.)

The best supplements contain a good supply of all the vitamins and a wide variety of other nutrients -- it takes more than vitamins for top nutrition.

And what's the most common missing nutrient for best fetal development?
It's omega 3 fatty acids, found in highest quality and quantity in fish oil. There is widespread agreement that this is the single item of nutrition most often missing in modern diets.

I understand that a pregnant woman can have a sensitive stomach, and the idea of swallowing fish oil may sound impossible to you, when you can barely handle a regular breakfast of things you like!

But don't give up on it. There are fish oil capsules available that are so highly-purified and from such pristine sources that they're guaranteed not to make you burp or have a fishy after-taste.

So check them out. You'll be glad you did.
One last thing I want to mention. Perhaps it should go without saying, but smoking during pregnancy is one of the most dangerous habits. Babies born to mothers who smoke generally weigh less, are more often premature, and already have measurable effects on their developing lungs and brains. So quitting cigarettes is one of the best things a pregnant woman can do for her baby.
Nutrition & Fetal Brain Development
Consumption of a variety of healthy foods full of nutrients by an expectant mother is important for the proper development of the fetal brain. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and/or minerals can have significant negative effects on the brain development of an unborn child
The Importance of Folic Acid in Pregnancy

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, folic acid is a nutrient that plays an important role in fetal brain development. If a pregnant woman does not have enough folic acid in her system during the first six weeks of pregnancy, she is at risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Doctors recommend that women begin taking vitamin supplements when they are trying to conceive or as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

Zinc and Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Studies have shown that in addition to a generous folic acid intake, zinc may also help prevent neural tube defects if consumed during pregnancy. It is believed that zinc may help a pregnant woman's body absorb folic acid more efficiently, thus allowing her to get the most benefit from the nutrient.

Harmful Effects of Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy
 Iodine is a key nutrient that helps assist in proper brain development of a fetus. An iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to a baby being born with mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Iodine is most easily found in iodized salt, though women also need to remember to not consume too much sodium during pregnancy.

Importance of DHA on Fetal Brain Development
According to Pregnancy and Baby, consuming the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy can have positive effects on the brain development of a fetus. Babies born to mothers who made an effort to consume extra amounts of DHA during pregnancy scored higher on IQ tests and had longer attention spans. DHA is generally not found in most prenatal vitamins, but may be purchased as a supplement. DHA is also now being added to common foods such as eggs, yogurt, certain types of fish and special brands of margarine.

Negative Effects of Alcohol on Fetal Brain Development
 According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, there is no amount of alcohol a woman can safely consume during pregnancy. Even small amounts of alcohol early in the pregnancy can have negative effects on the fetus. Alcohol actually slows down the rate at which the brain of a fetus develops. This can lead to a number of cognitive problems for the child later in life. Women who consume large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy may have children born with a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome have irreversible cognitive and neurological problems.

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