Pregnancy & Children
Childhood developmental stages include the infant (birth to 3 years), preschool (3 to 6 years), and school-age (6 to 12 years) stages. The average length of a pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is further split up into three trimesters. During both pregnancy and childhood, adequate nutrition is crucial for optimal growth and development.
Pregnant individuals frequently struggle with anemia, blood sugar dysregulation, depression, nausea/vomiting, high-blood-pressure, increased urinary frequency, shortness of breath, heartburn, and hair loss. Children sometimes struggle with (ADHD), autism-spectrum-disorder, asthma, eczema, digestive problems, and ear infections.
During pregnancy, consuming enough calories, protein, essential fatty acids (e.g., omega-3s), folic-acid, iodine, vitamin-d, calcium, and iron is crucial for maintaining the health of both parent and child. After birth, it is recommended that infants solely consume breast milk or formula for at least 6 months, at which point solid foods can slowly be introduced. As children grow, it is recommended that they be exposed to foods such as whole grains, fruit-and-vegetable, dairy, lean meat, and fish to ensure that a healthful dietary pattern is established. Thus, getting individualized nutritional counseling from a qualified healthcare provider is beneficial.
Pregnant individuals are usually prescribed a prenatal supplement to prevent any developmental complications. These often include nutrients such as folic-acid, iodine, iron, vitamin-d, and omega-3 fatty acids. Children usually do not need dietary supplements, as they can get adequate nutrition from their diet. Dietary supplements may be needed if a restrictive diet (e.g., vegan diet, vegetarian diet, gaps-diet, SCD, and AIP, is followed because it can increase the risk for nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, there is evidence that fish oil can be helpful for reducing symptoms of ADHD in children.