Parents want the best for their children, but did you know that scientists, doctors, and researchers are discovering ways that mothers can help their children before they’re even born? The latest prenatal health tips and studies are demonstrating that a mother can give their children a positive start by choosing healthy habits and taking care of herself.
In a study conducted by King’s College London, researchers discovered that women who displayed signs of depression during their pregnancy were likely to give birth to children who scored lower on cognitive tests later in life (specifically, researchers surveyed test scores of children at 8 years of age). Researchers also found a link to a mother’s nutrition and her children’s cognitive functions.
The study looked at nearly 7,000 mothers and their children; each pair was looked at 5 times, starting at 18 weeks before birth and when the child turned 33 months old. During this time period, mothers were asked to complete a food questionnaire to also see how their diets may have effected their children. What researchers found was that mothers who improved their diets not only had a chance to ease symptoms of depression, but also helped “reduce risk for atypical fetal development,” according to lead author Edward D. Barker.
A different study, led by Felice Jacka from Deak University and University of Melbourne, supports these findings and establishes “a link between poor prenatal diet and behavioral problems in children.”
Researchers caution that until more tests and research are conducted, researchers can only claim correlation between nutritional health, depression, and child development. They also temper the findings by saying that a child’s development is not necessarily severely hindered by a mother’s depression or nutritional diet.
Regardless, mothers expecting a child will gain a better quality of life by being proactive with their mental health and eating a good diet, packed with nutrient-rich foods and avoiding excessive amounts of salt, bad fats, and sugars. Mothers might help their child get a better start and also enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Expecting a child? The OB GYNs at MSCI can help you make the right prenatal health decisions during your pregnancy. Contact our physicians today and schedule an appointment.