We all say a little prayer daily for a safe and healthy passage during pregnancy. Between balancing hormones, managing weight, fighting hereditary conditions and just staying active for a major portion of the trimesters, pregnancy can be quite the challenge!
However, not all pregnancy related conditions are dangerous. For example, itching around the belly that occurs during the last trimester in some women has no known effects on the child’s health. Likewise, there is no single risk factor that precipitates the need for a Caesarian operation, i.e. C-section more than any other. Indeed, women who have been in the pink of health until the time of delivery also need surgery sometimes.
There are three main maternal health aspects that have some effect on the child’s health. Only one of these is a disorder per se, and the other two have more to do with lifestyle habits than disorders. As long as we manage them effectively, there is no cause for concern.
A High Sugar Intake Can Cause Future Guilt!
Cravings are at their strongest when you are pregnant and sugar cravings can be a normal part of life. However, a high sugar intake can lead to the risk of asthma and allergies in children. It has also been noted that a high sugar intake in the mother alone is sufficient to cause this problem, even if the children are kept on a sugar-free diet in early years. Time to destroy that craving! Sugar cravings often point to an underlying deficiency so finding and treating it first can curb the cravings. Try natural sweet foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes: They keep you feeling full and also prevent sugar cravings.
Maternal Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes
You may not have a say or any control over this one. Some women develop diabetes only while they are pregnant, and it is known as “gestational diabetes.”. The condition resolves itself in most women once they have the baby, but in some it may stay on for life as type 2 diabetes. If you wish to reduce the risk of developing this condition, you can aim to begin your pregnancy at a healthy weight as well as stay active throughout pregnancy.
There is reason to believe that gestational or maternal diabetes causes babies to be born well over a healthy weight. Some research is also underway to find a link between the development of autism in maternal diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is managed like regular diabetes: with diet controls, regular monitoring of sugar levels and hormone supplementation in extreme cases.
Eating “For Two”
If you’re being force-fed ghee, butter, fried foods and full fat milk, you are just another pregnant woman in India. Culturally, there is this belief that since the mother is now responsible for two people, she should “eat for two” as well.
However, consider this. The other person you are trying to ‘feed’ is barely one kilo, and slightly more by the time they are born. They don’t need to be fed a full meal. What is important is that you get adequate nutrition for two, because fetal development is a highly complex process in which the fetus gets first share of the nutrients, thus putting you at risk for deficiencies.
A high fat diet has been linked to childhood obesity, increase in a risk for mental illnesses and high birth weight.
- Berard A, et al. Maternal intake of sugar during pregnancy and childhood respiratory and atopic outcomes European Respiratory Journal, 2017
- Gestational Diabetes, PUBMED Health
- Johnson L, et al. “Energy-dense, low-fiber, high-fat dietary pattern is associated with increased fatness in childhood.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 4 (2008): 846-854.