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Maternal Diet and your Baby’s Health

Birth defects are the functional or structural abnormalities, which are present in the baby at the time of birth. These birth defects result in various physical and mental disabilities. Birth defect also account for maximum infant death under the age of 1 year. This misdeed could well be averted if would be mother take or are given a healthy, balanced and nutritious food. Following the regime, thousands of known and unknown birth defects could be averted.

The maternal diet and Birth defects

Folic Acid

Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is the most important nutrient required by the mother. It prevents the child from getting any neural defects in infants. These neural tube defects are Spins Bifida and Anencephaly, which generally lead to less or no development of brain and the spinal cord. Such defects usually show up in the first trimester. That is why you must have seen doctors put would-be mother on folic acid from the day her pregnancy is known.

The defect spina bifida means that the spinal cord does not close. This could result in paralysis of legs and nerve damage. Anencephaly is a more severe birth defect, in which the infants do not survive because the brain does not develop.

Therefore, it is important to take folic acid both prior and during the pregnancy to prevent the baby from getting neural tube defects. The DRI i.e. the Dietary Recommended Intake for folic acid is 400mg per day. You could get it from taking either multivitamin or taking foods rich in folic acid. Green leafy vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and orange juice are some rich source of Folic Acid.

Vitamin B12

The daily-recommended dosage is 2.6mcg per day. This vitamin also helps prevent neural tube defects. Milk products, meat, egg, poultry are some rich sources of vitaminB12. However, it is easily available but then too some women could report low levels. This could be in the case when the woman does not eat meat, egg or dairy products.

Some other diseases caused due to poor diet

Congenital heart disease:  this is caused due to a diet low in vitamin B2 and B3. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables are good source of these vitamins.

Gastroschisis: caused due to deficiency of zinc and protein. Also reported in women with low BMI. Smoking during pregnancy could also lead to this condition.

Cleft palate: The mouth’s roof does not close during development in this birth defect. Lack of Vitamin A and Folic acid’s absence or low levels could result in this defect.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): those women who take alcohol while pregnant can give their babies FAS, which could result in a poorly developed body and lifelong health problems.

Therefore, a nutritious diet is very important. What you want to gift your child, a healthy disease free happy living or lifelong health conditions? Think upon. Gift your bundles of joy a healthy life.