A woman’s lifestyle has a profound influence on her pregnancy and the foetal environment. Some of the lifestyle-related threats are poor nutrition, substance abuse and lack of physical activity. Not only can these lifestyle choices cause complications to the pregnancy, foetal development and the delivery, but they can also harm the offspring as well.
These are some of the poor lifestyle choices that have serious long-term effects:
- Improper diet and macronutrient Imbalance
Not many are informed about the impact of macronutrient imbalance. Macronutrients consist of proteins, carbs and fats vital for the developing foetus as well energy needs. To get the necessary amount of nutrients, an expecting mother has to consume foods from these groups like grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and dairy products. While an inadequate intake of nutrients can impair foetal development, an excessive intake of macronutrients could have long-term consequences as well. Studies suggest that in such imbalances predisposes the foetus to an increased risk of diseases in adulthood.
A pregnant mother’s poor diet habits can be responsible for her child later developing health issues like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, etc.
Several studies have found a link between maternal obesity and an increased risk of the offspring being obese during childhood and adulthood. What this means is that the child could be at risk of developing all the negative issues that come with obesity like cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, etc.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is linked to many obstetrical, foetal and developmental problems. It also puts the offspring at an increased risk of adverse health consequences during childhood, adolescence or even adulthood. The immediate dangers are a miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mothers who smoked during their pregnancy put their children at risk of developing respiratory issues like wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, impaired lung function, etc.
When an expecting mother continues to drink during the pregnancy, she’s putting her baby at risk of several issues like low birth weight, delayed development, heart problems, congenital disabilities and more. Additionally, the child may suffer from foetal alcohol syndrome, which has specific physical characteristics like a smaller head, being shorter and smaller in size than others his/her age etc. Apart from these, the offspring can have cognitive issues like learning disabilities, poor memory, language delays, etc.
Drug use during pregnancy has been associated with
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Premature birth
- Congenital disabilities
- Drug dependency in the baby
It is essential for any woman to adopt a healthy lifestyle even before conception. A proper diet, regular exercise and forsaking substance abuse can help her have a smooth pregnancy and give her offspring the best chance at having a healthy life.
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