The future children’s health could fall in risk if their parents are obese, as well as who smoke and drink alcohol, say experts who are calling for far more awareness of the effects of modern lifestyles on babies in the womb.
A leading medical journal describes the consequences of poor diet and lifestyles for the next generation in a series of three scientific papers. They urge schools, Gps and nurses to suggest the young people and those how to be fitter and healthier before they embark on pregnancy if they are planning a family.
It can have a deep impact on the growth, development and long-term health of children what happens in the “pre-conception” period, they say. Some of the interventions that exist to help pregnant women be healthier are taken up too late. Folic acid helps prevent neural defects, but most women do not start to take it until they have seen a GP to confirm their pregnancy, which can be after a month or two. But the early days and weeks are the most important time.
Couples need support, however. “It is usually not enough to simply educate or give advice, as knowing something is good for you is rarely sufficient to change behaviour,” says one of the papers.
> Shiuly Akter