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Low calorie diets in early pregnancy can affect your baby’s brain

Pregnant women warned slimming can damage their baby’s intelligence

Posted: 19 January 2011
by Susie Boone
eating in pregnancy
Don't try to counteract your pregnancy weight by eating less

New scientific research from the University of Texas shows that a poor diet during the first half of pregnancy can harm the development of a baby’s brain. This could potentially lower IQ and lead to behavioural problems.

Admittedly, the research was carried out on pregnant baboons, but the researchers claim that the results are likely to hold for humans too.

We’ve known for a long time the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy for the healthy development of your baby, but this study shows a direct link to diet and baby’s brain power.

The scientists found a marked restriction on the growth of brain nerve cells (neurons) and it also had an effect on certain genes.

Interestingly, the effect of not having enough nutrients is stronger in teenagers and older mums. This is thought to be due to the fact that teenage mums are still growing and older mums are less efficient at supplying nutrients to their growing babies.

Therefore women in these two groups should be extra careful to make sure their daily diet is well-rounded and nutritious. You should also try to make your diet as nutrionally strong as possible if you’re suffering from quite severe morning sickness.

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