Maternity Diet for Preventing Birth Defects
Healthier dietary options by pregnant women are linked with lesser risk of birth defects. Actually birth defects are structural or functional anomalies found at birth that cause physical and mental disabilities. They’re also a major reason of death in infants aged below 1 year. A mother, with wholesome nutrition before and during pregnancy can prevent many birth defects.
So what is essential?
Folate or vitamin B9 is important for babies to save them from neural tube defects, known as “spina bifida”.
An ample amount of folic acid in diet is very useful when you’re willing to get pregnant or when you’re pregnant especially during the first trimester.
You must take food sources containing folic acid like green vegetables, fortified grains, dried beans, peas as well as fruits, but if you want to take supplements, the daily recommendation is 400 mcg per day. Another vitamin that is necessary in avoiding tube defects is vitamin B12.
Beneficial food sources of vitamin B12 are dairy products, meat poultry and eggs. Women with poor or limited diets are also prone to delivering babies with neural tube defects. The mother’s caloric intake is very important for fulfilling the baby’s high nutritional requirement.
Below, there are some birth defects caused by different nutrient deficiencies.
Conginetal Heart Disease:
Pregnant women having a diet low in riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3) risk having babies with congenital heart disease, especially if they take diets high in saturated fats. Vitamin B2 is found in leafy vegetables alongside liver, whereas food sources for vitamin B3 are chicken, fish, liver, nuts and whole grains.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia:
Women with diets low in vitamin B12, vitamin E, calcium and retinol, build increased risk of baby with this type of birth defect.
Women taking low protein or zinc or have low body mass index (BMI), are vulnerable of having an infant with gastroschisis, a condition in which the abdominal wall of fetus has fissure or tear. Smoking is also the main cause it.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
Pregnant women must avoid alcohol to prevent having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in which the baby is poorly developed and could suffer life-long problems.
Women having restricted diets and not getting proper nutrition get much greater chances of delivering a baby with cleft palate, a birth defect in which the roof of the mouth doesn’t completely close during development. Deficiency of vitamin A and folic acid in a mother’s diet can lead to this deficiency.
As explained above that how much good nutrition affects your baby, and a compromised diet can cause various birth defects in your baby. Recommended prenatal vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy can prevent your baby from these issues.
Remember, a poor diet not only increases a mother’s risk of birth defects, but also contributes to premature births, high risk pregnancies and also those pregnancies that can’t go to full-term. Healthy nutrition is very necessary and pregnant women should plan their diets that support the health of their baby.