The Perilous Effects of Unhealthy Eating Habits on Expectant Mothers and Their Children’s Health

The potential impact of an expectant mother’s poor diet on the fetus’ health

A recent study conducted at the University of Turku has revealed that expectant mothers’ eating habits can have concerning effects on their health and that of their unborn children. Specialist researcher Ella Koivuniemi explains that an unhealthy diet during pregnancy can increase the fetus’s susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases later in life. It is recommended that pregnant women consume five servings of plant products per day, but only half of the women in the study met this recommendation. Additionally, a third of the women did not consume vegetables daily.

Koivuniemi emphasizes the importance of pregnant women receiving enough nutrients to support the growth and development of their fetus, as well as their own tissues and placenta. Vegetables, fruits, and berries are rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, which is crucial in preventing birth defects. However, simply taking a folic acid supplement may not be enough; it should also be obtained through food. A severe lack of folic acid in the fetus can lead to neural tube closure disorder, which can cause developmental disorders.

During pregnancy, both the mother and fetus try to adapt to their environment, which can impact the child’s later life. For example, a mother’s obesity and poor nutrient intake can affect the fetus’s metabolism, increasing the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes later in life. Epigenetic regulation plays a role in this process by modifying the phenotype of the fetus without changing its DNA.

The study also examined children under school age and found that most children did not consume enough vegetables and fruits. Only one percent of children ate five servings or more of vegetable products daily. The quality of children’s diets was evaluated based on dairy products, sources of hard fat, fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and legumes were also taken into account. Most children had diets with moderate or poor quality potentially due to factors such as busy lifestyles

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