Study says mother’s diet responsible for fetal intellectual development

Oct 15, 2013 | News

A pregnant woman holding her ultrasound photo taken during the first trimester of development.

During the first trimester, a woman’s maternal diet has drastic effects on her child’s development. BY MARCOS DE MADARIAGA

by Sarah Rea

A new study reports expecting mothers’s diet could be responsible for their child’s behavioral problems.

Cristina Campoy, a professor from Spain’s University of Granada, has put healthy eating to the test, looking at its significance to the early stages of pregnancy.

Due to the rate at which the brain develops, the study, called Nutrimenthe, and its conclusions are yet to be determined.  Researchers still insist that nutrition is most important when determining mental performance in kids.

Factors which have an impact on the emotional and behavioral development of children, not only lie in the amount of vitamins and minerals, the genetic makeup, and the socio-economic status of the parent, but also in the nutritional value of our food.

Katie Adair, a registered nurse in the maternal unit at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, spoke to Humber News about the importance of woman nourishing their body properly within the first trimester.


“If a woman does not properly nurse her body in this time it could be detrimental to the development of such organs… like the brain, heart and spinal cord. For example, if a woman does not consume enough folic acid during pregnancy, she places her infant at risk of developing neural tube defects.”


Adair said it isn’t just about consuming the appropriate nutrients, but avoiding many harmful toxins such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, and drugs.

“Something like alcohol consumption during pregnancy could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, where the brain has been affected and hence the child will be at a slower developmental rate.”

Monica Reyes, a blogger for Today’s Parent magazine says in the article Breaking all the pregnancy rules, that there are a million things you’re not supposed to do and to take nutritional advice with a grain of salt.

 “Women have been producing healthy babies for centuries and it’s only been recently that we’ve become hyper-aware of the do’s and don’ts. I have caffeine, eat sushi, and I’ve had the occasional runny egg.”

Reyes also says, that the research on these rules are constantly changing in terms of what expecting mothers should, or should not follow.

“Before, sushi had to be avoided but now Motherisk considers it safe to consume as long as it’s from a reputable place. There are concerns about getting listeria from eating prepared salads. I find it unsettling that a salad is considered risky, but a fast food burger is fine. I will take my chances and eat the salad… I am an adult and will deal with the consequences in the rare instance something happens.”