Your Lifestyle And Developing Baby

How much of an impact does your everyday lifestyle have on your developing baby? According to Peter W. Nathanielsz, M.D, Ph.D., the author of The Prenatal Prescription and Life in the Womb, the way you live makes a big difference.

couple at prenatal class

According to the "fetal programming theory," the developing fetus responds to nutritional and oxygen shortages by diverting precious resources to the one organ it absolutely needs at the time -- the brain -- at the expense of organs it will need in later life.

Here are the 10 principles:

  1. During development, there are critical periods of vulnerability to suboptimal conditions. Vulnerable periods occur at different times for different tissues. Cells dividing rapidly are at greatest risk.
  2. Programming has permanent effects that alter responses in later life and can modify susceptibility to disease.
  3. Fetal development is activity-dependent. Normal development is dependent on continuing normal activity. Each phase of development provides required conditions to subsequent development.
  4. Programming involves structural changes to important organs.
  5. The placenta plays a key role in programming.
  6. The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb, but that compensation carries a price in later life.
  7. Attempts made after birth to reverse the consequences of programming might have their own unwanted consequences.
  8. Fetal cellular mechanisms often differ from adult processes.
  9. The effects of programming might pass across generations by mechanisms that do not involve changes in the genes.
  10. Programming often has different effects in males and females.

Read more

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