There's a tabloid term — pregorexia — that describes a mother-to-be on a starvation diet. Nicole Kidman (two birth children) and Victoria Beckham (four kids) often are used as examples of women who preserved their hyper-skinny figures during their pregnancies.
Being too thin while pregnant is bad for both mother and fetus.
But what we see a lot more of these days is women at the other end of the spectrum: More than 50 percent of all pregnant women in North America are overweight or obese, and that's very bad news for a developing fetus.
Pregnant women who are obese and eat a high-fat diet endanger the development of blood stem cells in the fetal liver, which compromises development of the immune system.
The researchers suggest that moms who are obese while pregnant might be one reason for the rise in immune diseases and allergies in children.
So if you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, make trans and saturated fats, added sugars and syrups, and refined grains your sworn enemies.
Get daily exercise (aiming for 10,000 steps a day), and gain just enough weight to keep your fetus healthy — less than 15 pounds if you're obese (BMI more than 30); 15-25 pounds if you're overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9); and 25-35 pounds if you are a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9).
And take a daily prenatal vitamin with DHA for three months before trying to conceive, right through delivery and breastfeeding. That decreases childhood cancers by 65 percent, birth defects by 80 percent and autism and autistic spectrum disorders by 40 percent.
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