High-Fat Diets Can Harm The Fetal Immune System

Pregnancy cravings are really, really hard to ignore, but if you crave tons of fatty foods, you should try to avoid giving in all the time.

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It's so difficult to ignore a pregnancy craving, even when you know you should. But new research shows that moms who enjoy a high-fat diet during pregnancy might be putting their baby's immune system at risk.

Research conducted in lab mice showed that mothers who consumed a high-fat, high-sugar diet created a suboptimal environment for fetal growth. Namely, the fetal liver was smaller than those of their peers whose mothers ate a healthy diet. Damaged liver cells can affect the developing immune system. "These findings may provide broad context for the rise in immune disease and allergic disposition in children," said Dr. Peter Kurre from Oregon Health and Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

It's easy to say to a pregnant woman, "Just avoid fatty foods." I didn't crave fatty foods but I did crave disgusting, unhealthy things like pop during my last pregnancy. It was super hard to ignore. The urgency of a pregnancy craving can really take you off guard. But what you can do is try to substitute a healthier food item that has similar properties (for example, fruit or yogurt if you're craving ice cream).

Other times, subs simply won't do. But eating something unhealthy isn't nearly as awful if you keep the portions small. A little bit of a delicious-yet-unhealthy food might be enough to take your mind off the craving. Because what Dr. Kurre mentions is worth noting — immune diseases seem to be on the rise, and with kids of my own with allergies and autoimmune diseases, it's worth looking into.

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