Prenatal prescription


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The fact sheet reveals how important good nutrition is for a pregnant woman.

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Prenatal prescription

  1. 1. THE PRENATAL PRESCRIPTION PBRC 2011 Prenatal ProgrammingThe prevailing scientific eating patterns, tendency to gain exercise. Studies show thatconsensus is that nutritional weight, emotional resilience, blood pressure in mothershealth during pregnancy intelligence, susceptibility to during pregnancy correlateimprints us for the rest of our cancer, and resistance to infection. directly with the bloodlife, and that the chronic pressure of their offspring in Overall, prenatal programmingdiseases we may experience later, adulthood. affects every aspect of our physicaleither begin or are prevented and mental health, at every stage One example is newborns whoduring prenatal life. This is of our lives. have a disproportionate head-known as the Barker Hypothesis, to-waist size, a hallmark ofcreated by Dr. David Barker. Leading researchers studying detrimental prenatal prenatal life now believe that theBarker states that our bodies are programming due to poor nutritional quality of the wombprogrammed by our nutrition, and are more likely environment is often a moreexperiences before birth. The to develop elevated levels of important predictor for risk ofevents to which we are exposed cholesterol as adults. heart disease than either geneticas we develop in the womb can predisposition or post-birthimprove or worsen our blood influences like diet andpressure, cardiovascular health, The Ten Principles of Prenatal Planning1.There are critical periods of continuing normal activity in the reverse the consequences ofvulnerability to sub-optimal womb. programming may have theirconditions for the fetus during own unwanted consequences. 4.Programming involves severaldevelopment in the womb, different structural changes in 8.Fetuses react differently tooccurring at different times for important organs. sub-optimal conditions than dodifferent organs in the body. newborn babies or adults. 5.The placenta plays a key role in2.Programming has permanent programming. 9.The effects of programmingeffects that alter the body’s may pass across generations byresponses in later life and can 6.Compensation carries a price. In mechanisms that do notmodify susceptibility to disease. unfavorable environments, the involve changes in the genes. developing baby makes attempts to3.Fetal development is actively compensate for deficiencies. 10.Programming has differentdependent. Normal develop- effects in males and females.ment is dependent on the baby’s 7.Attempts made after birth to
  2. 2. The Prenatal PrescriptionPage 2 Nutrition During Pregnancy Your nutritional status is commonly found in red fruit, and green vegeta- before conception is meat (especially liver), bles. probably as important as eggs, and dried beans. Vitamin A helps build your nutrition during Calcium is the main key components of the pregnancy. The building block of bones baby’s skin, eyes, and mother’s nutritional and teeth. It is critical for other tissues. The recom- status during pregnancy the proper function of mendation is to consume is the single most nerve cells and muscles. 800 IU daily during important factor in the The recommendation is pregnancy. It can be baby’s growth. Nutrient for 1200 to 1500 mg daily found in fruits, meats, deprivation during during pregnancy. vegetables, and dairy. pregnancy can take Calcium is found in dairy generations to overcome. Vitamin B6 helps your Prenatal products, greens, legumes, The effects of poor baby create new tissue, environment can and tofu. impact your child nutrition vary according especially the brain. An later in life. to the trimester in which Chromium helps insulin intake of 2.2 mg daily problems occur. to keep blood sugar at the during pregnancy is right level. An intake of recommended. It can be Over the whole course of 50 and 200 mg per day is found in eggs, whole prenatal development, recommended while grains, lean meat, the kind of nutrients “The mother’s pregnant. It is found in oatmeal, nuts, dried your child gets before whole grains, meats, and beans, peas, and bananas. nutritional status birth can affect his life- brewer’s yeast. during pregnancy is long weight, blood pres- Vitamin B12 plays a sure, blood sugar profile, Zinc is important for central role in the the single most and cardiovascular tissue growth and the production of new DNA important factor in reproduction of genes in every cell needs as cells health. the baby’s growth.” DNA. At least 15 mg a multiply. An intake of Components of a healthy day is recommended 2.0 to 2.2 mcg daily dur- diet that are vital to during pregnancy. Zinc ing pregnancy would be pregnancy include: Iron, can be found in whole required. It can be Calcium, Chromium, grains, nuts, dried beans, found in meat, fish, eggs, Zinc, Folic acid, Vitamin meat, and eggs. and cheese. A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C. Folic Acid is vital for the Vitamin C is crucial for synthesis of DNA. Every cell repair after injury Iron is needed for a cell in your baby’s body and for the development proper blood supply to and the placenta need an of new tissues. At least increase and help the adequate supply of folic 70 mg per day during baby build his/her own Embrace the beauty of acid. The recommended pregnancy would be blood supply. The the bridge between intake is 400 mcg daily sufficient. It can be you and your child. recommendation is to during pregnancy. Folic found in fruits (esp. cit- take 30 to 60 mg per day acid can be found in rus) and dark green, leafy during pregnancy. Iron enriched flours, fresh vegetables.
  3. 3. Page 3Nutrition Throughout the TrimestersDuring the first not be the main sources of During the thirdtrimester, a weight gain fluid since they contain a trimester, calciumof one pound a month lot of glucose. continues to beis recommended, which During the second important. The baby ismeans that an increase much more physically trimester, an additionalin calories is not yet demanding and he/she 300 calories more a day isnecessary. Iron is is growing rapidly and recommended. Proteincrucial for the expansion needs more nutrients intake, along with ironof the blood supply. daily. Frequent small and calcium are crucial.Meeting folic acid meals are still important. Periodic visits to Even if you do not have your gynecologist arerequirements is very A gain of about a pound gestational diabetes, you recommendedimportant in the first a week is normal, and if during pregnancy to may have some episodes ensure propertrimester because this is you do happen to be development of the of hyperglycemia that are fetus.when the spinal cord is gaining more, never try exacerbated by pregnancy.being created. If to lose weight during the Eat small snacks moremorning sickness leads pregnancy. Wait until often and avoid fatty orto vomiting, extra fluids after pregnancy to go on oily foods because fatsand salts like potassium a weight loss diet. interfere with insulinwill be required. Choosing to breastfeed activity. Concentrate onConsuming some sports can help in resuming complex carbohydratesdrinks during this phase normal weight and “Even if you don’t made with whole wheat,would replenish the bran, or other fiber physical well being. have gestationalelectrolytes lost; diabetes, you may sources.however, they should have some episodes of hyperglycemia Exercise During Pregnancy that are exacerbated If exercise was part When the woman You have a history of by pregnancy.” of your normal rou- exercises, she also miscarriages tine prior to preg- provides small Incompetent cervix nancy, it is safe to physical challenges for continue even while the baby, making the Persistent bleeding pregnant. baby better able to Placental disease handle stress later on Exercise fosters Poor fetal growth in life. growth of new blood Premature labor vessels and increases Also, stimulation of cells metabolic the baby in the womb Pregnancy-induced efficiency. helps aid brain hypertension development. Stimulation of the The body also learns Ruptured membrane baby in the womb helps aid brain to dissipate the heat You Should NOT Twins or a multiples development better with regular Exercise During pregnancy challenges. Pregnancy if:
  4. 4. Page 4 The Prenatal Prescription Conditions in Which Exercise During Pregnancy Isn’t Recommended If any of the following Early pregnancy Palpitations or any conditions exist, a bleeding other heart pregnant woman should arrhythmia. Extremely overweight probably not be Sedentary lifestyle or underweight for exercising: prior to pregnancy your height Anemia History of poor fetal Breech presentation growth after 28 weeks There are some instances where pregnant women Drinks, Pills, and Toxic Spills should not be exercising. The fetus is very Alcohol has clearly very toxic. vulnerable. defined adverse effects Health foods, nutri- Substances can be on the embryo and tional supplements, toxic or challenging fetus. and herbal teas can to the fetus in ways Coffee, in high doses, have ingredients that that these substances can cause problems have adverse effects are not for adults. during pregnancy. on the baby. Smoking is bad for “In 1968, scientists Some over the coun- the fetus in many ter medications can be from France were the ways. first to describe Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, in which babies are The Negative Effects of Smoking & Alcohol Use repeatedly exposed to The fetus is more oxygen levels to the baby. born with mental alcohol while in the vulnerable to the effects Smoking slows the growth retardation and physical womb.” of cigarettes than anyone of the placenta. It also abnormalities. Research else. Tobacco is a disrupts the sleep of the shows that the likelihood powerful drug which acts baby and reduces REM of miscarriage in the first on the neurotransmitter sleep. trimester is doubled in system that controls the women who drink as Alcohol cuts the blood heart. It also causes little as one ounce of supple to the fetal brain constriction of blood alcohol twice a week. and affects how nerves vessels in the placenta, Also, drinking as little as communicate. In 1968, causing increased blood two drinks a week has scientists from France pressure and heart rate. shown increased were the first to describe When the mother agitation and stressful When smoking during fetal alcohol syndrome smokes, she increases the behavior in newborn pregnancy, you reduce (FAS), in which babies the amount of oxygen concentration of carbon babies. going to the baby, repeatedly exposed to which also slows the monoxide and reduces growth of the placenta alcohol in the womb are
  5. 5. Page 5The Negative Effects of CaffeineCaffeine is not and acts as a stimulant. coffee has been shown toeliminated as efficiently Caffeine seems to be safe potentially increase theduring pregnancy and in terms of miscarriage risk of miscarriage, alongthe concentration can risk if you limit yourself to with interfering with theget high quickly. It one or two cups of coffee baby’s sleep patterns inspeeds up cell activity a day. In high amounts, the womb. During pregnancy, caffeine seems to be safe in terms ofPremature Delivery miscarriage risk if you limit yourself toBabies born before 37 would within it. The and the beginning of one or two cups of coffee daily.weeks gestation are most common reasons labor. If the mother isconsidered premature. for this are infection in under enough stress, herPremature birth often the womb or birth canal, increased production ofhappens because the and stressful situations androgen may cause thebaby is under some sort for either the mother or level of estrogen to rise “Even if you don’tof stress. It may be that child. When the baby far sooner than it have gestationalwhen conditions in the finds that there is no should, initiating diabetes, you maywomb environment more room to grow or premature delivery. In have some episodesbecome overly when there is a lack of order to preventthreatening to the baby’s food or oxygen, stress premature delivery you of hyperglycemiahealth, the child has a hormone concentrations should avoid stress, treat that are exacerbatedbetter chance of in the baby’s blood may all cuts and blisters by pregnancy.”surviving outside the rise, stimulating the promptly, brush andwomb rather than it production of estrogen floss teeth regularly, and don’t smoke.Birth and Beyond RecommendationsThe baby’s environment Breastfeeding requires taking them.after birth influences the that the mother con- It is recommended forquality of neural connec- sume 500 more calories new mothers to usetions in the growing per day than the pre- stress reduction tech-brain. The amount & pregnancy diet. niques in their daily life.quality of breast milk is Mothers will also need Regular playing, hug-directly related to the to eat more protein, ging, touching, and talk-mother’s diet and stress calcium, iron, and fat. Playing, hugging, ing with your baby cre- touching, and talkinglevels. Antibodies in Alcohol, caffeine, pain- ates the physical and with your baby createsbreast milk beneficially killers, medications, and the physical and mental foundation upon mental foundationchange the baby’s drugs pass through the which he/she will buildimmune system. You breast and into the baby, future security andshould try to breast feed so it is very important to happiness.your child for at least follow your doctor’sthe first three months. recommendations about
  6. 6. About Pennington The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a world-renowned nutrition research center. Mission: Sources: To promote healthier lives through research and education The Prenatal Prescription (2001) by in nutrition and preventive medicine. Peter Nathanielz The Pennington Center has several research areas, including: Clinical Obesity Research Experimental Obesity Functional Foods Pennington Biomedical Health and Performance Enhancement Research Center 6400 Perkins Road Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Baton Rouge, LA 70808 Nutrition and the Brain Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenance Pennington Nutrition Series No 84 The research fostered in these areas can have a profound Authors: impact on healthy living and on the prevention of common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Beth Kalicki hypertension and osteoporosis. Heli J. Roy, PhD, RD Division of Education The Division of Education provides education and information to the scientific community and the public Phillip Brantley, PhD, Director about research findings, training programs and research Pennington Biomedical Research Center areas, and coordinates educational events for the public on Steven Heymsfield], MD, Executive Director various health issues. 4/11 We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the exciting research studies being conducted at the Pennington Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like to take part, visit the clinical trials web page at or call (225) 763-3000.**The information within this newsletter has been obtained from the book: The Prenatal Prescription by Peter Nathanielsz, MD, PhD**