With pregnancy comes an overwhelming amount of advice and information. And still, there are a couple of things that parents-to-be are not aware of, especially when it comes to nutrition. We’ve compiled scientific facts and asked an expert for advice. Here’s what you need to know to give your baby the best start in life...
1. Trying to conceive is the first step in getting pregnant. Or is it…?
Every parent and parent-to-be knows that timing is everything when it comes to conception, but the important role nutrition plays in conception and male fertility is less well known.
In a nutshell: Good nutrition starts before trying for a baby. Both parents’ diets and lifestyle choices can have profound implications for the growth, development, and future health of their children before their conception. Evidence shows that establishing good nutrition during the first 1000 days of life (starting from conception) can positively influence life-long health.
2. A pregnant mum-to-be should be eating for two. Or should she…?
It's common to hear that when “eating for two” during pregnancy, it’s ok to eat whatever and however much you like.
In a nutshell: ‘Eating for two’ can put the mother at increased risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and the baby at a higher risk of obesity later in life. In fact, the energy requirement is only minimally increased during pregnancy – it is about 10% (~ 200-250 kcal/day) higher at the end of pregnancy. This corresponds to only one slice of whole grain bread and an apple, for example. In contrast, micronutrient requirements increase significantly more than those of energy. For most, the key is not eating more but eating more of the right things.
3. As long as a woman gets enough calories when breastfeeding, nutrition doesn’t matter. Or does it…?
Let’s see, what Anna-Maria says.
In a nutshell: The baby’s health development continues after birth and the new mum needs to regain strength and energy. Especially postpartum, good nutrition is key for good recovery and replenishment. Besides, breastfeeding women have an increased need for several micronutrients (e.g. iodine, vitamins, and the omega-3-fatty acid DHA) that are depleted from her body to provide them to the baby: their breast milk contains all the nutrients needed to support a baby’s physical and mental development. Thus, good nutrition after pregnancy doesn’t look that different from good nutrition before and during pregnancy.
4. A healthy balanced diet provides all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that expectant mothers need. Or does it…?
During the 40 weeks of a full-term pregnancy, the foods eaten matter more than ever – they’re the building blocks of the baby.
In a nutshell: A healthy balanced diet will provide almost all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that expectant mothers need – almost. There are some crucial vitamins and minerals that even a balanced diet might not provide enough of during pregnancy. These are usually recommended as supplements, e.g. folic acid, other B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, iron, and Omega-3 to support the development of the fetal brain, bones and eyes.
Helping pregnant women and children in underserved communities
Access to the right nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life – during pregnancy and through the first two years – is critical to a mother’s health as well as the healthy growth and development of a baby. Sadly, too many millions of children have bodies and brains that are stunted, harmed irreparably from poor nutrition in these First 1000 Days. Many people around the world simply don’t have the means to get the right nutrition for themselves, let alone their baby.
As a global leader in prenatal supplements, Bayer teamed up with Vitamin Angels to help millions of pregnant women and their babies gain access to essential multiple micronutrient supplements. The partnership is part of our “The Nutrient Gap Initiative” which expands access to vitamins and minerals for 50 million underserved people annually by 2030 to help combat malnutrition.
Together, we can take strides towards our vision “Health for all, Hunger for none”.
Over the course of their lives, women have many different health needs. They can be questions about their menstrual cycle, birth control, pregnancy or menopause. But they can also be concerns about medical conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding and infections or even diseases such as breast cancer, endometriosis or myomas.
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