Nutrition - Childbirth Mortality Rates
The baby mortality rate was much higher in ancient and historical times than it is in the modern developed world. There are many reasons for this including the progression of scientific technology, more prenatal and postnatal education for the pregnant mother, as well as a better understanding of infant nutrition, toddler nutrition and overall child safety. In our globalized world, it's much easier to get the foods a pregnant woman needs to eat in order to meet unborn child nutrition guidelines set out by the medical community.
Maternal Nutrition and Infant Mortality
The chance of a baby surviving birth and reaching childhood is greatly increased if the infant has been given the opportunity to form properly in utero. That's why maternal nutrition is so important. Eating the right foods provides your child with the necessary nutrients for development.
Our modern science knowledge has broken down affects of each type of mineral, vitamin or other nutrient on our bodies and the bodies of developing fetuses. This knowledge wasn't available in ancient and historic times and it wasn't uncommon for babies to be born with low birth weight or undiagnosed (for that time period) problems that made the infant too feeble to survive.
Nutrition isn't the only reason why the infant mortality rate in the developed world is generally lower than it would have been one or two hundred years ago. Back then, there was little knowledge about the dangers of bacteria, and the same methods of cleaning and sterilizing the birthing area and birthing tools that we have now weren't practiced. Even modern healthy newborns with mothers who were able to eat properly while pregnant can become very sick if they're exposed to dangerous bacteria.
Health Problems Related to Unborn Baby Nutrition
Medical, pregnancy and child nutrition articles and studies published the Health Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. say, in many different ways, that every single system, cell and organ in a newborn baby comes from what the mother ate before and during pregnancy. It's easy to see how maternal nutrition contributed to infant mortality in the past and still today.
Modern studies have proven that birth defects that were fatal earlier on in history were likely directly connected to nutritional deficiencies. Many of these defects can now be treated thanks to advancements in medical technology, but were often a death sentence for a newborn in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The most dangerous time for nutritional deficiencies is early pregnancy when so many crucial organs are developing. For example, the heart begins to beat at approximately 20 days after conception and the neural tube closes at less than 30 days post conception. For these reasons a woman needs to make sure she has been eating well and getting all the necessary nutrients before pregnancy and during early pregnancy if she wishes to increase the likelihood of a healthy child.
Nutrition and Pregnancy Complications
Many women throughout history have during childbirth or shortly after childbirth for reasons that midwives and doctors of those eras couldn't determine. Modern science has show a connection between pregnancy and labor complications with maternal death. Some studies suggest that there's a connection between severe nutritional deficiencies in calcium and antioxidants as well as too much salt is connected with preeclampsia and hypertension. Low zinc levels have been connected to postpartum hemorrhaging.
Child Obesity and Maternal Diet
Women who are severely overweight when pregnant tend to have poor diets high in fat and low on nutrients. Their developing unborn children are at a higher risk of developing congenital abnormalities and other health problems, according to some studies. There are also studies that indicate that women who tend to eat excessive amounts of sugar; fat and salt while pregnant have an increased chance of having a child with a preference for junk food. The child's ability to metabolize food is often altered too and he or she may have a tendency towards obesity and gain weight much easier than they would have if the mother ate healthier while pregnant.