An expectant mother’s unhealthy diet can increase the risk of disease for the fetus

New Study Reveals Expectant Mothers May Not Be Eating Enough to Support Fetus’s Health

A new study conducted at the University of Turku sheds light on the eating habits of expectant mothers, suggesting that they may not be consuming enough nutrients to support the growth and development of their fetus. According to doctoral research by specialist researcher Ella Koivuniemi, a diet high in unhealthy foods during pregnancy can increase the fetus’s susceptibility to diseases like cardiovascular issues later in life.

Koivuniemi recommends pregnant women consume at least five servings of plant-based foods daily, but only half of the women in the study met this recommendation. Moreover, a third of the women did not eat vegetables daily.

It is crucial for expectant mothers to consume enough nutrients to support their own tissues and placenta as well as the growth and development of their fetus. Vegetables, fruits, and berries are rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, which is essential for preventing birth defects. While taking a folic acid supplement is recommended, Koivuniemi stresses the importance of obtaining nutrients from food as well. A severe lack of folic acid in the fetus can lead to neural tube closure disorders, which are rare in Finland but carry significant risks.

The fetus can adapt to its environment during pregnancy through fetal programming, which can impact its health later in life. The mother’s obesity and poor diet can affect the fetus’s metabolism, increasing its risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Epigenetics plays a role in this phenomenon, with evidence suggesting that the fetus’s metabolism may adapt to store fat efficiently during times of need, leading to future health challenges. Research on epigenetics in humans is ongoing and complex; however, evidence from cross-generational population studies supports its role in human health.

In addition to studying expectant mothers’ eating habits, Koivuniemi’s research also examined those of children under school age. The study found that most children did not consume enough vegetables and fruits regularly; only one percent met the recommended five servings per day. Quality diet was also assessed; just 14 percent ate well while most had moderate or poor diets.

Overall, Koivuniemi highlights that expectant mothers should prioritize a balanced diet rich in nutrients such as fruits, vegetables

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