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Positive Parenting: Food choices by pregnant mom predict babies preferences later

Most moms-to-be know that eating healthy is important for themselves and their babies. But new research shows what a pregnant woman eats may also influence her child’s food preferences down the road.

When it comes to food, babies know what they like and don’t like. Now research shows the foods they prefer may depend on what flavors they were exposed to in the womb. In a summary of several studies, scientists found babies who were exposed to certain flavors in their mothers’ wombs and through breastmilk were more likely to prefer those foods later on. In one experiment moms who drank lots of carrot juice had babies who ate more carrot-flavored cereal during a taste test at about six months of age.

Nutritionists encourage pregnant women to eat at least 70 grams of protein a day and at least two cups of fruits and vegetables. During the first trimester, they shouldn’t up their calorie intake. In the second trimester, they should consume about 340 calories more per day. During the third, it’s about 500 calories more. And remember, what you eat matters.

While it’s important for pregnant women to eat a well-balanced diet, some foods are off-limits. These may include certain deli meats, soft cheeses, and raw or undercooked foods.  

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.