New research shows that too much or too little salt intake could adversely affect a growing baby's kidney development.
New research published in the American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology shows that too much or too little salt intake could adversely affect a growing baby's kidney development, and could lead to high blood pressure in later years. Previous studies have shown that too high of a salt intake during pregnancy can cause the mother's body to secrete certain steroids, which in turn can lead to low birth weight and high blood pressure in the baby. Furthermore, previous studies "also linked high blood pressure with a low nephron number, critical because the nephron is the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney. The nephron eliminates wastes from the body, regulates blood volume and blood pressure, controls levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulates blood pH. Its functions are vital to life and are regulated by the endocrine system." (Source: American Physiological Society) As a result, researchers conducted this study on salt intake and kidney development. The results are significant because, as the researchers noted, if the outcome is the same on humans (the study was conducted on lab rats), both too high and too low of salt intake during pregnancy could adversely affect the baby's kidney development and potentially cause high blood pressure. Read more on fetal development Fetal development stages A look inside your baby's world Ultrasound gallery See how your baby's face develops in the womb