Posted by Dr. Rupal Shah on Friday, 11th July 2014It is always said that you should have proper nutritious diet when you are carrying a child because ultimately your child gets nutrition from your food. What you eat during those nine months can have long-term effects on your child's health. Normally this tip is given by mothers and grand mother and all other experienced females. Hence diet plays an important role for healthy pregnancy and healthy child.
Researchers have discovered that nutrition at the time of conception can alter a baby's genes permanently. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published a report that outlines the effects a woman's diet has on her baby. Here the talk is not about the diet during pregnancy but it is about the pre pregnancy diet. That means what a mother eats (or lacks nutritionally) before she conceives a baby can permanently alter her child's genes.
Importance of nutrition before Conception
Normally the diet of the women changes once she is pregnant. Sometimes it's due to aversions and cravings, but most pregnant moms try to eat a healthier diet. However researchers say that what your nutrition status is like right around conception can play a big part in your baby's genetic makeup.
While a child’s genes are inherited directly from their parents, how these genes are expressed is controlled through ‘epigenetic’ modifications to the DNA. One such modification involves tagging gene regions with chemical compounds called methyl groups and results in silencing the genes. The addition of these compounds requires key nutrients including folate, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, choline and methionine.
The team studied six genes and what can cause them to turn on or off, focusing on specific nutritional components, such as B vitamins, and what their effects are on those genes. The switch for turning genes on or off is controlled by methylation, and they discovered that in women whose blood levels of these particular nutrients were low, these genes had less methylation.
Even more notable, they found that the levels weren't out of normal range — they were just lower than the cases where there was more methylation on the genes. They also found that the higher a woman's BMI at the time of conception, the less methylation was present, and again, the women's weights weren't out of range.
In essence, they found that there were just a few subtle differences that make permanent changes in genes. The team did not study how this affected fetal development, nor the child's health as he grew up.
The on-going research is yielding strong indications that the methylation machinery can be disrupted by nutrient deficiencies and that this can lead to disease. The ultimate goal is to define an optimal diet for mothers-to-be that would prevent defects in the methylation process. Pre-conceptional folic acid is already used to prevent defects in embryos. Now research is pointing towards the need for a cocktail of nutrients, which could come from the diet or from supplements before conception.
The basic funda of the study prove that mom’s diet prior to conception can influence her babies DNA during pregnancy. It also shows correlation between a mother’s nutritional well-being prior to conception, and how that well-being will affect the DNA of her baby over the course of its life. The aim of the whole study is to demonstrate that a mother’s nutritional well-being at the time of conception can change how her child’s genes will be interpreted, with a life-long impact. Thus mother’s diet before pregnancy could permanently affect many aspects of her children’s lifelong health.
The study did in fact; prove that mom’s diet prior to conception can influence her babies DNA during pregnancy. However study is in very initial stage and more work is required.
We all know that experts suggest getting to your optimal weight before pregnancy, and beginning a quality diet way before you are told to at your first appointment is a sound idea. However, pregnancy doesn't always happen when we expect it to. The point to take away, then, is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and strive for your ideal weight whether pregnancy is on the horizon or not.
The Blossom Fertility and IVF Centre aims to reduce the stress and hassle associated with infertility investigations and treatment, by offering a one-stop diagnostic and treatment service for infertile couples. Our expertise in infertility treatment and cutting edge IVF technology has helped majority of our patients to achieve pregnancy. Apart from providing infertility treatments to the patients, we also provide them counselling and nutrionist facility. Nutritionist guides them to control weight, BMI and to eat healthy diet avoiding junk food and other oily stuffs. Patients are advised what healthy food to eat when there is craving for food or when there is false hunger.
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