In my childbirth education classes I speak with families about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. We talk about all the goodness and gold awaiting us in vegetables and herbs, and go over the importance of understanding what we put in our bodies to stay healthy. However, where I – and many educators – fall short is in not discussing the implications on our children of how we eat.
Often, care providers will monitor a woman’s intake to make sure that she isn’t put at risk for labor and delivery. However, there may be possible risk to the lives of our children when we aren’t aware of the effects of the foods we eat. For example, most pregnant women are told to avoid salt to reduce the chances of preeclampsia or other pregnancy related illnesses. However, pregnant women who consume excess salt may predispose their unborn children to adult high blood pressure. Likewise, a woman consuming too much sugar may alter her child’s possibilities of being diagnosed diabetic.
In the natural birth world I feel like we do a great job of helping parents understand the effects of manufactured medications used during labor on unborn babies. Parents often know THAT they should eat better, but often don’t understand why. We must do a better job of helping our families make better food choices when possible. I read an article in The Huffington Post titled, “To Eat Artificial Dyes or Not?” It would be a great follow-up to this blog to understand how dangerous something as common as an M&M can be.