Diet Choices When Pregnant Influence Child’s Eating Habits

Pregnant mother's diet choices directly affect diet choices of the infant

It has long been known that a pregnant mother’s diet affects the child, but new studies suggest the diet can alter how a fetus perceives smell and flavor, as well as change the brain to influence diet choices of the child in the future.

While some studies have suggested alcohol consumption in moderation is acceptable during pregnancy, this study shows how important it is to refrain from consuming alcohol both while pregnant and while nursing. Alcohol consumption while pregnant may lead the child to be more interested in alcohol consumption.

For the study, researchers analyzed mice for more than two years in attempts to discover what affects the development of a child’s brain. Sense of smell was altered in mice pups based on their mother’s diet, and noticeable changes were discovered in the olfactory glomeruli — area of the brain that processes smells.

While these studies involved mice, researchers explain there is no reason to believe human mother and infant interaction would be different.

Food and beverages choices of a pregnant woman have long-term effects on the child. Eating healthy foods will create a desire in the infant and child to consume similar foods, and eating unhealthy foods will create a desire to eat unhealthily.

Researchers are unsure of how long-term these effects are, but additional research is being conducted.