All around the globe, moms-to-be and new moms get advice from family, friends and doctors on what to eat and drink. For women in Singapore, pregnancy traditionally reminds them of fish soup. In Vietnam, expectant mothers believe that eating goose eggs can make their babies smarter and in Japan, women are told that spicy food can give the baby a short temper.
Surprisingly, in spite of all that advice, according to Geoffry Smith, president of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Southeast Asia Region, “Many new and expectant moms may be overwhelmed by family and friends’ well-meaning but conflicting advice.” Smith says, “This may prevent them from eating a balanced diet and from getting essential nutrients.”
Why Nutrition is So Important
“We need to raise awareness about evidence-based maternal nutrition to help mothers make better nutritional choices,” says Smith. “There are many studies of maternal nutrition in Western countries but not many that provide a perspective on Asian moms and maternal nutrition.”
An Abbott study which was conducted in Vietnam examined the impact of a lactation support program consisting of breastfeeding education and maternal nutrition supplementation on birth outcomes and breast feeding by Vietnamese mothers. Two-thirds of expectant women in the study were deficient in many nutrients that are important for healthy pregnancies.
The study found that participants who took maternal milk supplements during their pregnancy delivered babies with healthier birth weight and head growth. At 12 weeks postpartum, nearly 100% of mothers in the intervention group had adequate intakes of calcium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, and B-vitamins. Moms also had improved breastfeeding results.
“Moms who got the full range of nutrition needed during and after childbirth, as part of the breastfeeding support they received, were twice as likely to breastfeed exclusively for three months and beyond,” says Yen Ling Low, PhD, Director of Research & Development at Abbott’s Asia-Pacific nutrition center.
If you are concerned about nutrition, talk to your physician and keep the following tips in mind:
Whether pregnant or breastfeeding, mom's nutrition is very important and the foundation for a healthy start for your new bundle of joy. Take care to give the best care!
Infographic: Nutrition Needs