How Pregnancy Stress Can Affect the Diet of the Child


How Pregnancy Stress Can Affect the Diet of the Child

How does pregnancy stress affects the diet of the


According to new research from Michele Belot, professor in the Department of Economics, maternal exposure to stress during pregnancy could have long-term detrimental effects on their children's diets, and thus on health conditions related to diets - such as increased levels of obesity and obesity-related diseases.

According to Belot, who holds a joint appointment in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and College of Arts and Sciences, "being exposed to stressful events while pregnant seems to impact the dietary preferences and diet of the children in a negative way, and for reasons that are aside from what the mother is eating herself." Therefore, it follows that we must consider ways to assist pregnant women in managing their stress that is beneficial for the mother and child."

Belot and her co-authors found that higher than average stress during pregnancy is associated with significantly fewer healthy food preferences for their children as well as a weaker preference for sour and bitter foods in their paper, "Maternal stress during pregnancy and children's diet: Evidence from a population of low socioeconomic status."

According to the authors, Nicoli Vitt (University of Bristol), Martina Vecchi (Penn State), and Jonathan James, stress during pregnancy "could have long-term detrimental effects on the next generation in terms of a less healthy diet and subsequent health implications associated with these effects, such as higher rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases" (University of Bath). "As a result, we support greater research into figuring out what causes maternal stress and how much it can be changed. To create preventative strategies to enhance public health, prenatal care and preconception counselling may be essential.

213 low socioeconomic class women with kids between the ages of 2 and 12 who resided in Colchester, England, were chosen by the study's researchers. Through retrospective self-reporting, their degree of stress throughout pregnancy was evaluated. They specifically asked mothers if they had gone through any of the following during their pregnancy: the death of a close relative or friend, changes or difficulties in their relationship, legal issues, changes or difficulties in their family life, health issues, changes or difficulties in their or their spouse's employment, changes in their habits, or any other potentially stressful events.

Mothers were asked to rate each stressor's level of intensity on a scale of one to ten.

Next, the researchers looked at how healthy each participant's youngest child's diet was. The child's preferences for the five basic flavours of sour, salty, umami, bitter, and sweet were also investigated.

According to their findings, there is "a sizable negative connection between in utero exposure to stress and the child's diet and food preferences." They discovered, more particularly, that a child's preference for sour and bitter foods was inversely correlated with prenatal exposure to stress.

The mother's diet, either before or after the pregnancy, does not seem to have any influence on this outcome.

To try and lessen the stress that individuals deal with daily, Belot is a strong supporter of policies that are focused on assisting people with well-being and mental health programmes. "Stress is bad for a lot of things, and I've written a couple of papers about it before.

Low-income pregnant women might not have access to a stable workplace with excellent mental health and wellness initiatives. Therefore, putting them through community-based initiatives might be advantageous. Adding mental health and wellbeing programmes could be very beneficial because there are currently a lot of local and community groups in the UK that work to support low-income families. It would be best if we could find more ways to assist and encourage expectant women.

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