Maternal Nutrition Effects on Infant Mortality
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is of utmost importance. In order to ensure that the process of child birth is carried out smoothly, it is highly essential to regulate the nutritional intake of the mother. It is true that if the mother is healthy, her baby is more likely to be born healthy. However, this correlation has been vastly studied by many scientists who are still to date carrying out researches to establish a solid link.
The link is there, but to what effect is what the question really is. Maternal nutrition effects on infant mortality has been the subject of much concern with an increase in the pool of scientific knowledge available, and the ambition to keep adding on to this already existent wide warehouse has highlighted its significance even further, giving way to more and more studies and researches every day.
Maternal Nutrition and Infant Outcomes
A study conducted in 1950 established an interest spurring link between pregnancy and maternal nutrition and its impact on the fetus. The study concluded that those women who consumed minimal amounts of nutrition over an eight week period into the pregnancy, had a higher rate of mortality or that pertaining to disorders concerning their offspring, as compared to ladies who ate in a regular fashion. The study also went to say that this was because babies born to well-fed mothers had lesser restriction within the womb and a better environment to facilitate their growth potential.
Physical disorders in infants are not the only ones that have been linked with poor maternal nutrition before and after pregnancy. Undernourished mothers may muster the growth of neurological disorders and the chances of handicaps among their offspring, as well as increase the susceptibility of their infants to degenerative diseases later in life. Research has documented for an estimate of 23.8% of babies to be born with a weight that is below the optimal level, due to lack of proper maternal nutrition.
Maternal Nutrition before Pregnancy
There are certain vitamins and minerals that mother’s should make a conscious effort to include in their diets in order to promote maternal nutrition and also preserve the health of their fetus. These essential components include:
Magnesium and Zinc
These two components help bind the hormones at their receptor sites, leading to proper fetal development.
Supplementation of folic acid in the form of foods containing it or other sources is very important as it promotes the growth of the follicles.
By accounting for adequate levels of vitamin D as maternal nutrition, the mother can decrease the likely hood of her infants bearing any deficiencies in the particular vitamin in adolescence. Furthermore, a Vitamin D deficiency can increase the likelihood of pelvic deformities and rickets, which can make a comfortable delivery impossible.
Vitamin B12 is also a very important component that should be a part of maternal nutrition as it promotes the well-being of the fetus by easing the process of child birth and reducing chances of infertility.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are very important as they increase the blood flow to reproductive organs and may also aid the process of regulating reproductive hormones. It has also been documented by research that omega 3’s help prevent premature delivery and low birth weight.
Maternal Nutrition during Pregnancy
Maternal nutrition is at its most vulnerable during conception time and the period following right after as this is when the organs and the systems begin to develop within. Maternal nutrition at this stage is highly essential as it is this nutrition in circulation that provides the energy for these systems and organs to begin formation. It is very important that during pregnancy even the mother makes sure to include certain components in her diet in order to maintain and sustain her infant’s health. Some of these are:
By supplementing the mother’s diet with food rich in folic acids, neural tube birth defects can be prevented in the baby. Foods rich in folic acids consist of oranges, leafy greens and etc.
Foods ranking high in iron should be a part of maternal nutrition during pregnancy as iron helps in preventing anemia and ensures an adequate supply of oxygen for the baby. Foods rich in iron include lean red meats and beans.
Prenatal vitamins consist of folic acid, iodine, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc and calcium. These ensure that the body gets all the important vitamins and minerals needed to produce a healthy baby.