Pediatric experts say proper nutrition for pregnant moms during early pregnancy can lead to healthy child

To Press Releases listJun 19, 2012

  • Good nutrition for pregnant mothers during first 1,500 days can lower risk of allergy and obesity among infants

Bangkok (20 June 2012) – Nestlé Nutrition Institute by Nestlé (Thai) Ltd today hosted a press seminar on “Start The Motherhood Journey with Healthy Nutrition” to highlight the importance of proper maternal nutrition during early pregnancy and how it can reduce long-term risk of illness among infants.

The seminar was addressed by world-renowned pediatric experts Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Haschke from the Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and Prof. Dr. Erika Isolauri, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Turku, Finland, and Chief Physician at Turku University Hospital, Leader of the Nutrition, Allergy, Mucosal Immunology and Intestinal Microbiota (NAMI) research group, University of Turku, Finland, with Dr. Sirinuch Chomtho from Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Pediatrics, as moderator, and Ms. Malee Kittikumpanat, Medical and Nutrition Services Manager, Nestlé Nutrition Institute welcoming the participants.

Ms. Malee Kittikumpanat, Medical and Nutrition Services Manager, Nestlé Nutrition Institute said, “The incidence of allergy among young children is on the rise around the world, Thailand included, posing a major obstacle to children’s healthy growth and development, and giving parents concerns. Nestlé Nutrition Institute has organized many seminars to share knowledge on how the risk can be effectively reduced, starting with proper nutrition for the mother during her early pregnancy.”

Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Haschke said, “Good and proper nutrition during the first 1,500 days, starting from the day that pregnancy was detected, influences the infant’s growth and cognitive development. It is also important in minimising the risk of non-communicable diseases such as allergies, diabetes, cardiovascular events, and obesity as the infant matures in life.”

“Poor nutrition before birth, particularly the low supply of vitamin B12 and folate, is associated with low birth weight. Later in life those children are at risk to become obese. The genes of the malnourished fetus are programmed to store all the energy in the body, which would increase the risk of obesity and associate metabolic diseases during adulthood,” he explained.

“The tissue content of docosahexanoic acid (DHA) is related to cardiovascular and mental health. In addition to the DHA intake, frequently found polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster have marked effect on the DHA status and metabolism. FADS gene variants influence DHA status of the mother, the fetus and the brestfed infant. DHA supplementation during pregnancy and after breastfeeding therefore should be recommended.

High protein intake after birth with old infant formulas is a risk factor for development of childhood obesity, in particular, when the mother is already obese. On the other hand, breastfeeding and new low protein formulas can protect infants from excessive weight gain. Infants with a high risk to develop allergy should be exclusively breastfed or receiving a hypoallergenic infant formula. This programs their immune system the right way,” Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Haschke said.

Prof. Dr. Erika Isolauri said, “The establishment of intestinal bacteria is the main source of microbial stimulating factors to the maturation of the immune system. Its concentration depends on genetics, mode of delivery, the immediate environment of the newborn and early feeding strategies. Hence, proper nutrition for the pregnant mother is important because it influences the composition of breast milk that gives the immune protection and thereby stimulate the development of the infant’s own immune system.”

“Natural childbirth delivery can help strengthen the immune system, thereby building better immunity against chronic inflammatory conditions. The probiotic effects improve intestinal permeability and restores balance in the gut, and improves the intestine's immunological barrier functions. Hence, a pregnant mother who chooses a healthy and proper nutrition that includes specific probiotics can help an infant to achieve good health,” Prof. Dr. Erika Isolauri said.

Dr. Sirinuch Chomtho, said, “Breast milk is best for infants because it contains all the nutritional and immune benefit for infants. Infants should be breastfed exclusively during the first six months of life and continue up to 2 years or beyond. However, many mothers have difficulty breastfeeding, resulting in a disruption to the breastfeeding period. The breastfeeding difficulty is usually attributed to improper positioning and latch as well as insufficient milk supply, which can be prevented by early initiation and support of breastfeeding as well as accurate information from healthcare providers.”

“Every mother wants her child to be strong and healthy. Proper nutrition for the mother during early pregnancy directly affects the child. Hence, mothers should pick a diet that contains probiotics. Nestlé Nutrition Institute recognizes the importance of probiotics and is committed to research and development to further improve probiotics to ensure that mothers get the best to provide for their infant since the beginning of birth,” Ms. Malee said.