Most mothers know just how hard it is to resist cravings during pregnancy, and while it’s okay to give in every now and then (I mean seriously, chocolate chip cookies are awesome), it’s important to consider the health of your little one.

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While you should increase your food intake during pregnancy to ensure both you and the baby are getting the nutrients you need, this does not mean you should eat whatever you want.

One woman on Baby Center begged for advice on how to limit her junk food intake. One member said:

My first pregnancy I also craved junk food the entire time! Very not healthy and I ended up with edema and other problems causing me to have to be in the hospital for weeks and to deliver a month early. I would recommend that when you get a craving satisfy it in small doses. If you feel like pizza eat a slice or two, not the whole pie. If you are craving a burger or those yummy fast food fries get a small order not a supersize one. Everything’s okay in moderation so don’t beat up on yourself. I’m 6 wks pg now and I keep healthy snacks around and eat them before I get real hungry. So far that’s helped stave off the cravings. I’m also less tempted to hit the drive thrus when my kitchen is stocked at home. Just remember it will be over eventually…

This is great advice, but from reading further I realized that most mothers were inquiring because they were concerned about weight gain, not the effects these foods have on their baby.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat,” but have you ever thought of it this way — “Your child is what you eat“?

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The campaign, created for the Brazilian Pediatric Society of Rio Grande, SPRS, was made to highlight how a woman’s nutrition during pregnancy can have lasting effects on her child’s health.

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In a report published in the journal Genome Biology, researchers searched the genome to determine how outside influences such as diet, nutrition, and environmental exposures affect a developing fetus.

By focusing on a specific variant in a gene involved in suppressing tumours, asssociate professor of pediatrics and molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Robert Waterland and his team found that healthy diets of pregnant mothers can result in babies developing a gene variant that protects against cancer.

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Each advert states:

“Your habits in the first thousand days of gestation can prevent your child from developing serious diseases.”

“At least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, including fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables, and no more than one 150ml glass of 100% unsweetened juice,” suggest NHS.

Another study published in The FASEB Journal, led by Bev Mühlhäusler and completed by the University of Adelaide, suggests that “moms-to-be who eat junk food during their pregnancies have already programmed their babies to be addicted to a high fat, high sugar diet by the time they are weaned.” They found “from laboratory studies that a junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation desensitized the normal reward system fueled by these highly palatable foods.”

Bev Mühlhäusler reminds mothers and mothers-to-be that this information isn’t meant to scare those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding but to inform them of the possibly dangerous outcomes junk food has on their bodies and the bodies of their babies:

The take-home message for women is that eating large amounts of junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding will have long-term consequences for their child’s preference for these foods, which will ultimately have negative effects on their health.

It’s important to monitor the state of your child while breastfeeding. You may find that certain foods cause a reaction, or that when you are pregnant, you can’t seem to keep down the same foods you always craved and enjoyed.

Pregnancy can be a miraculous phase in a woman’s life and offers many opportunities for self improvement. It demands that you become more self-aware and more considerate, because your decisions are no longer just about you — they are about your little loved one, too.

“Love and affection are vital, but it is important to educate and inform mothers about the procedures necessary for proper nutrition and baby care.”

– From the SPRS website discussing the first thousand days of a baby’s life.


Having Trouble Losing Excess Weight?

Having trouble losing excess weight? This could be one of the biggest reasons why.

We know so much about food now yet much of the population is overweight and unhealthy because of the quality of our food and our perception about food.

Luckily there's a quiz that you can take to find out where you stand on food addiction. You can take it here.

After you will get results and specific information based on your score. Try the quiz!