Health FAQs

Causes and Effects of Poor Diet in Pregnancy

Causes and Effects of Poor Diet in Pregnancy-The The importance of a continual healthy diet cannot be overemphasized. During pregnancy, your baby eats what you eat and this period is a time to maintain a good dietary plan for the good of the child and the pregnant mother as well, in other to build up the baby’s body organs, enhance proper body functions and prevent prenatal diseases.

Some expecting mothers (pregnant women) have however been found to default from the adequate diet, and this could be hazardous effects on the unborn child.


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Causes of Poor Diet in Pregnancy

Some of the leading causes  and effects of poor diet in pregnancy include;

1. Poverty

According to the food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) the united nations, poverty and lack of resources are two causes of bad nutrition that contribute to the estimated 925million people worldwide suffering from poor diet and its effects.


2. Limited Access

In some locations, access to supermarkets and large grocery stores is limited by distance, economic status and lack of transportation.


3. Access to Fast Foods

Easy to prepare meals and junky food known popularly as “fast foods” has gained high recognition due to the fact that it is easy to prepare and saves time. it, however, contributes to poor health as it contains little nutritional value and also contributes to the accumulation of cholesterol thereby restricting nutrient flow and absorption in the circulatory system.


4. Age-Related Nutrition Deficiency

Aging is an additional cause of bad nutrition. Older adults who are pregnant for the first time may have reduced mobility, resulting in difficulty in shopping for food items. As a result of the natural part of the aging process, changes that occur in taste and smell might cause a decrease in appetite which leads to nutritional deficiencies.

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5. Medications

Some over the counter medications and prescriptions can affect appetite and metabolism. People taking these medications, over a long period of time may suffer from some nutritional deficiencies. medications such as birth control pills can nutrient metabolism, resulting in decreased absorption of vitamin B6 and folate.


Some anti-convulsant can also cause the liver to remove additional amounts of vitamin D which aids calcium absorption. Excess amounts of some nutritional supplements inhibit nutrient absorption. For example, excess zinc or copper might interfere with one another’s absorption.

Consult your physician or pharmacist about the adverse effects that may occur with prescribed or over the counter medications.

There is also a wide range of adverse health effects associated with maternal undernutrition on both the mother and the unborn child.


Effects of Poor Diet in Pregnancy to the Mother

1. Maternal Anaemia

When iron is deficient in the diet, this can result in maternal anemia which is associated with intrauterine growth retardation.

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2. Pe-eclampsia

This is a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and urinary protein concentrations during pregnancy. This can be caused by zinc deficiency in the maternal diet.


3. Postpartum Haemorrhage

Lack of vitamin k in maternal diet limits blood clot formation during childbirth and this can result in more than necessary bleeding after delivery thereby causing maternal death.


Effects to the Fetus

1. Poor brain and nerve development

Inadequate protein intake inhibits fetal organ development including the brain and nervous system. This could cause the inability of the child to think effectively after some years.


2. Incomplete fetal Skeletal Development

If calcium, which is responsible for skeletal development is absent in the maternal diet, it could restrict fetal skeletal growth.


3. Perinatal Mortality

This refers to the death of the infant within seven days of birth. infants who weigh less than 2.5kg are more likely to die within the first seven days of life compares to normal infant weight.

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