We are, because they were…..and our kids will be because we are. Confused??? We are all aware that our genetics influence the way we appear. We have inherited some features from our parents, say the colour of our eyes, shape of our nose and so on and so forth. We tend to resemble our blood relatives/ancestors in many ways. Research in the area of epigenetics strongly suggests that our behaviour and environment can cause changes in the way our genes work. In simple words, the choices that our predecessors made, regarding food and physical activity and the environment they lived in, are some of the factors that affect the way our bodies look and work. The good news is that unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible since they do not alter our DNA sequence. By bettering our lifestyle choices, the possibility of bestowing good health to our future generations is strengthened.
For Your Kind Attention Dear Future Parents:
Preconception Lifestyle is important:
Fad diets, eating disorders are commonly observed in young women and men of reproductive age. These behaviours lead to anaemia due to Iron, Vitamin B-12 and folic acid deficiencies. Being underweight or obese adversely affect the reproductive hormones and therefore fertility. A detailed dietary consultation and follow-up with a Qualified Dietitian is essential to benefit self and future generations. Smoking (active and passive) and alcohol consumption are totally avoidable. Do seek professional help for behaviour modification ASAP.
Lifestyle during pregnancy:
A pregnant woman’s environment and food behaviour, influence the baby’s epigenetics. Certain effects remain for decades and make the child more prone to get certain diseases. Developmental origins of health and disease are being extensively studied globally. Professor C.S.Yajnik and his team at KEM, Pune have indicated that maternal micronutrient deficiency specifically low maternal B12 and high folate status increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease in the baby even before it’s birth.
Hence along with regular consultations with your Gynaecologist, do review your dietary adequacy, address your dietary concerns and get personalised dietary consultations regularly from a Qualified Dietitian.
Nutrition during Lactation:
The nutrient requirements are the highest in this phase, even more than during pregnancy. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is the best gift that every mother can give her baby and has life-long health implications for both.
To achieve this, do take the support of Lactation Counsellors who shall help out with essential skills needed to nourish the baby and mother. A strong support system is essential during this phase. The physical and emotional well-being of the young mother needs to be prioritised. Partners too need to take care of their lifestyle choices, since parenting is team work. Besides partners, do seek help from your set of parents for managing this phase well.
A strong inheritance for great health can be collectively created for the coming generations.
(Image by anncapictures from Pixabay)