Healthy Eating Habits Start in the Womb in Nutrition, Pregnancy /by Dr. Sears LEAN Team
Pregnancy is an amazing experience. That little life starts growing inside you before you even know it’s there. The body goes through many changes in order to nourish and protect that life. The belly grows; heart pumps more blood; joints and bones support the increasing weight while this new life is growing inside the uterus.
A mom’s body provides her baby with home, nourishment, comfort and protection. Giving a baby the best chance for health is the responsibility of the mother and should start before the baby is even born! It might sound crazy at first, but if you consider that the baby’s and mom’s bodies are talking to each other through hormones, nutrients, chemicals and whatever travels with the blood and through placenta in the amniotic fluid, it makes complete sense.
If our kids are not nourished then they are affected by what is now called Nutrition Deficit Disorder (or NDD). NDD has physical and mental affects and could lead to a host of issues like ADHD, developmental delays, allergies and inflammatory diseases. We all are well aware that childhood obesity and diseases are at an all-time high. One out of three children and teens are currently overweight or obese. It is highly likely those obese children will grow up as obese adults. Obesity epidemic costs our country $117 billion per year in medical expenses so we as a country won’t be able to compete in global economy. Obese children are 2X more likely to die prematurely before the age of 55. It is also a matter of national security because fat kids won’t be able to perform military duties. Honestly speaking it is time to take action and reverse this trend.
Diet, pollution and stress are some of the factors that deeply affect the baby’s present and future health. To provide the baby the best possible place to grow and develop it is very important for a mom to address these issues during preconception and pregnancy stages. “Twentieth-century medicine dealt with child health and adult health separately”, says Dr. Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University. “What 21st-centruy medicine is telling us is that if we want to change adult health, we have to look in babies, even before they’re born.” 1
The diet is of course totally crucial because what the mother eats tells a fetus a lot about its future environment, including how much and what type of food will be available after birth. In the womb, the growing baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid daily. That fluid surrounding the baby is actually flavored by the foods and beverages the mother has eaten in the last few hours and several research studies have been conducted to prove this. “During one study, 12 pregnant women were given biscuits and sweets laced with aniseed. After they had given birth, their baby’s reaction to certain foods were monitored against babies who were not exposed to food with aniseed. Babies who were exposed to the strong flavor of aniseed in the womb seemed more interested and attracted to the food when presented with it. The study reveals that the babies smiled and moved towards the aniseed smell, whereas babies who were not exposed to it, turned away in disgust”. 1
“Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, aniseed, mint — these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother’s milk,” says Julie Mennella who studies tastes in infants at Monell Chemical Senses, Philladelphia. In fact, Mennella whose work has also been published in the journal Pediatrics further says there isn’t a single flavor they have found that doesn’t show up in utero2.
In another study to determine if flavors are passed from the mother to the baby via the amniotic fluid, researchers gave women garlic capsules or sugar capsules before taking a routine sample of their amniotic fluid — and then asked a panel of people to smell the samples. The panel could pick out the samples easily from the women who ate garlic. According to Mennella, “The sense of taste is actually 90-percent sense of smell, so they knew just from the odor that the babies could taste the garlic that mom consumed.”2
The Royal Veterinary College of London did a study on rats and discovered that a mother’s diet of junk food could lead to them having children with higher risk of diabetes and obesity later in life. “Researchers found that women who use pregnancy as an excuse to ‘eat for two’ and indulge in junk food may be putting their unborn baby at risk, as exposure to fatty, salty foods in the womb can have long-lasting effects on the part of the brain that controls appetite.”3 Junk foods, overeating sweets, overconsumption of soda or other carbonated drinks in a pregnant mom’s diet can predispose the baby for metabolic diseases or food sensitivities and allergies later in life.
Based on numerous studies it can be stated that babies do prefer taste they experience in the womb and good eating habits start early-in the womb. America’s Pediatrician and author of more than 30 parenting books Dr. William Sears says, “eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much; it means being twice as careful about what you eat.” Good nutrition during pregnancy improves mother’s health, helps her feel better and ensures that the baby gets off to the best possible start in life. So if you are pregnant or planning to have your own bundle of joy soon; then start eating healthy today to provide your baby a happy, healthy, well-nourished mother and a clean, safe birth environment inside the womb.
I love my pressure cooker, food processor, immersion blender and high speed blender. I don't know how I could cook without them. I use at least two of these every day. I cook pretty much everything in my pressure cooker. Yesterday I cooked a butternut squash in 5 minutes. Baked it would have taken 40 minutes. With the right tools it's easier to find time to prepare meals. Part of what I do is help people purchase and use the right kitchen equipment.
An amazing mom posted this today on Facebook and I wanted to share. Feel free to share it on any forum you would like. We need to educate people and change the cultural norm.
"So. I did a bad ass breastfeeding mom thing today. I take my 21-month-old to Early Intervention class on Tuesdays through DPS. We were in our fine motor skill portion when the supervisor asked to speak with me in the hallway. I KNEW it was because my son was nursing during circle time. She congratulated me on breastfeeding and then asked me to use a cover. I looked at her with a big smile on my face (and trepidation in my chest!) and said, "No." She looked at me, smiled back and said, "No?"
Me: by Michigan law, I am allowed to breastfeed anywhere my son and I are allowed to be. By law, you cannot ask me to cover or to leave."
Her: Really? I am so sorry. I did not know that.
Me: Yes. I am happy to send you the information about the law that Governor Snyder signed awhile back.
Her: I would appreciate that. I believe in breastfeeding, but I had no idea it was the law. I am so sorry.
Me: No worries. I understand it isn't the cultural norm, but it is my right and the law.
Fifteen minutes later, she comes back and shows me the Free Press article about the law. She apologized again, and said she would educate her staff.
I told her that if we keep hiding our babies when we nurse, we will never normalize breastfeeding. Rock on, mamas. Breast feed or bottle feed your babies anywhere and everywhere. It's their needs that come first."
Last July I received news from my daughter that changed my life forever. I was going to be a grammy! When she first told me the wonderful news I was elated. I began to fantasize about all the things I would experience with my grandchild. I wanted to be the best grammy ever. But it wasn't long before I started to worry. What if something went wrong? What if there were pregnancy complications or the baby was born unhealthy?
Being a nutritionist I've helped many people overcome illness, build their immune system, and support their body for optimal health. However, prenatal nutrition was a whole new ball game for me. Because of my belief that synthetic vitamins are inadequate and whole food supplements are the way to go, I knew that the prescription vitamins most doctors prescribe wasn't going to cut it for our family. I needed to find the best combination of supplements available to help my daughter and unborn grandchild thrive. It's a big responsibility to take on the care of a developing fetus, but I was ready for the challenge.
I dedicated all my free time to researching the nutritional needs of both an expectant mom and a developing fetus. I contacted supplement and herbal companies and talked with holistic doctors. I read and read and read. I eventually came up with a protocol that covered all bases. Along with nutrient dense foods, and exercise, I believed that I came up with a protocol to give my daughter the best nutrition possible. If her energy level was any indication then I was on the right track. She worked full time, and still had energy to exercise, take care of her home and socialize with friends. There were no complications and she carried my grandson one week past his due date.
At last, the day came, and we welcomed Keegan into the world. My anxiety and fears were calmed after I laid eyes on him and saw that he was a healthy thriving newborn. But what occurred after his birth was the most affirming and reassuring. The midwife who assisted in his birth stated that Keegan's umbilical cord was the healthiest one she had ever seen. Of course I was thrilled and knew then that my plan had worked.
That was 10 months ago. Since then I've been guiding women in both pre-pregnancy and pregnancy health including my daughter in-law who is due in August.
If you're planning to be pregnant or are currently pregnant, seek the guidance of a qualified nutritionist and ensure that you are getting the best nutrition possible.
To Your Good Health,
I'm saddened by the devastation on the east coast.
The stories of families without food, water, electricity, and heat are heartbreaking.
Most of us have experienced some inconvenience due to severe
weather; snow storms, extreme heat, flooding, and high winds, have caused power
outages for many of us in Michigan. For the most part, it's never been for more
than a few days. But even a few days can be miserable if you're caught off guard, especially if you have
children or are elderly.
People on the east coast are suffering. Even if they can get out to shop, they can't purchase the items they need because most businesses are without power. This includes gas stations and convenient stores.
The businesses that are open are sold out of supplies or lined up for blocks.
People are desperate and waiting for the government to deliver water and other
supplies. But in such a widespread area, the government is having difficulty
keeping up. Thousands of people are doing without the necessary tools for
survival. What’s worse is that most have no internet or cable connection and
cell phone reception is spotty. So they can’t watch the news, or keep informed
about rescue efforts.
With severe weather occurring more often, being
prepared has become more important than ever. I've come up with a list of items that every family
should have at all times in order to survive a power outage or natural disaster. Don't get caught unprepared.
1) Designate an easily accessible area of your home for emergency
2) Water-Always have enough water to supply your entire
family, including pets for at least two weeks.
3) Unprocessed sea salt
such as Real Salt, Himalayan, or Celtic. This provides necessary minerals to
help sustain energy if food supply is scarce. It can be added to water or eaten
4) Dried fruits and nuts, nut butter. Excellent
source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
5) Rice, beans, legumes, jerky.
7) Pet food if you have pets.
8) Gasoline for your car or generator.
9) Propane if you have a gas grill or stove.
Should have at least a camping stove on hand.
10) Flashlights and plenty of
11) Blankets- enough to keep the whole family
12) First aid kit with bandages, antibiotic
creams, gauze, tape, scissors, waterproof matches.
13) Transistor radio. Essential if internet and cable is out! Batteries.
In addition, if there are orders to evacuate, do it. We
tend to expect that warnings are exaggerated. Sometimes they are, but
always be prepared for the worst.