Taking daily iron supplements during pregnancy can reduce the chances of having a small baby as well as anemia.
Studies of two million women found that taking even a tiny amount of iron cut the risk of anemia by 12% and low birth weight by 3%.
For every additional 10 mg of iron taken each day, up to a maximum of 66 mg per day, the risks of anemia and low birth weight decreased.
But researchers found no reduction in the risk of premature birth as a result of iron use.
The World Health Organization currently recommends a dose of 60 mg per day for pregnant women.
Women contemplating pregnancy should adjust their diet to include appropriate iron nutrients before becoming pregnant.
Add Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and many breakfast cereals to add natural iron.
Iron supplements may have unpleasant maternal side effects like constipation, indigestion and bloating. Add fibrous food to offset the constipation effect of iron.
Alcohol is not safe for pregnancy. Don’t imbibe even a glass or two.
Researchers at Oxford and Bristol Universities discovered that drinking one or two glasses of wine a week during pregnancy could have an impact on a child’s IQ.
Drinking too much while expecting a baby can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, learning disabilities and hyperactivity.
· When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the levels of alcohol in her baby’s blood rise as high as her own. Because the baby’s liver is immature, it can’t break down the alcohol as fast as an adult can. This means the baby is exposed to greater amounts of alcohol for longer than the mother. When an unborn baby is constantly exposed to alcohol, a particular group of problems can develop, known as fetal alcohol syndrome.
Mothers who were iodine deficient had children with a slightly lower IQ and worse reading scores in primary school.
Study showed that two in three women were not getting enough iodine during pregnancy. This was mostly mild deficiency.
· A balanced diet during pregnancy would contain enough iodine. Iodine is a building block of hormones made in the thyroid gland. These control the way the body uses energy and how it grows. It is particularly important when the brain is developing. In pregnancy you need 50% more of the chemical than normal.
Babies are learning when they’re still in the womb
A US and Sweden study discovered that in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, fetuses are listening to their mothers communicate. And when they are born, they can show what they’ve heard.
Speak regularly to your baby. But don’t put loudspeakers in the tummy to disrupt the baby’s sleeping pattern.
· Baby developmental milestone:
· 4 months: Fetal hearing begins to develop; the nervous system starts functioning
· 6 months: Fetus responds to sounds by kicking, quickening pulse
· 7 months: Fetal hearing fully developed. Fetus responds to visual and audible stimulation
· 8 months: Brain continues to develop; fetus can see
Babies born to bilingual mothers have shown they can equally accommodate two or more languages – but that ability is acquired through natural exposure.