| Nutrition fertility & pregnancy
“Under nutrition in foetal life has permanent, detrimental effects on the bodies metabolism, hormonal response, immune function and organ development and increases the susceptibility to disease in later life including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory illness” professor Barker author of Mothers, Babies and health in Later life.
A significant but largely neglected lifestyle factor in subfertility is nutrition. Nutrition is important for DNA synthesis, because most of its essential compounds are derived from the diet. DNA synthesis is important for the development of the spermatozoa and oocytes. In humans, the effects of nutritional deficiency has barely been investigated.
Nutrition is fundamental and essential and provides the building blocks for foetal and embryonic development.
After conception, embryonic growth is so rapid that unless all building blocks are present and toxins are absent, vital stages of development can be compromised. There is growing evidence that the first few days, even hours, of an embryos life are of critical importance. In the first trimester, foetal mass increases over 2.5 million times. This is a rapid rate that requires exceptional nutritional status. From the 2nd trimester to term there is only a 230 x mass increase
In the first trimester the main developments are the cell differentiation, organization, and organ formation, after this the baby is mostly formed including any anomalies and the rest of the pregnancy is focus on growing and maturing.
Many studies show benefit for mother, pregnancy, birth and baby from Preconception care supplementation, with the earlier the start the better.
One in 4 cardiac defects are preventable with pre conception multivitamin supplementation. Preconception nutrition also protects against 3 common childhood cancers – brain tumours, neuroblastoma, leukaemia. Nutriiton can reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) in pregnancy by 45% and up to 71% in lean women.
Diabetic mothers who took multivitamins preconceptually had no increase in birth defects as would have been expected.