Diet during pregnancy linked with heart risk of baby

Expectant mothers who follow a healthy diet during their pregnancy could reduce the risk of their baby developing heart problems, research suggests.
A study in the US, which looked at 19,000 women, analysed their diets in the year leading up to their pregnancies, with the women providing information about their diets.
A diet high in fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish was considered as being a healthy diet. Experts also recommend vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones, as well as folic acid to help reduce the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida.
In the study, it was found that half of the women gave birth to babies with heart problems, whilst the other half did not. When diets were compared, the researchers found that following a healthier diet was linked with a reduced chance of congenital heart defects.
Congenital heart disease is one of the more common birth defects, with up to nine out of every 1,000 babies born being affected.
Although diet appears to influence the risk of a baby developing heart conditions, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said it is often unclear why the heart did not develop normally. It could be due to faulty genes or chromosomes.
“A healthy diet before, during and after pregnancy, can have benefits for both mother and child and, as seen here, the whole diet should be taken into consideration, rather than solely focusing on individual nutrients,” said Victoria Taylor, of the BHF.

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