Nutrition and Lifestyle for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (2015)

Nutrition and Lifestyle for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (2015)

by Peter Gluckman (Author), Mark Hanson (Author), Chong Yap Seng (Author), Anne Bardsley (Author)

ver the last few years there has been exciting progress in our understanding of what creates a healthy start to life. We now know that many aspects of embryonic, fetal, and infant development are affected by somewhat subtle aspects of parental health and behaviour.

Nutrition and Lifestyle for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (2015)

In this way, health—or conversely the risk of disease—is passed from one generation to the next, via processes operating independently of inherited genetic effects. This is important, because it means that parents, supported by their families and health care professionals (HCPs), can take many positive steps to promote the health of their children, even before those children are born.

As our scientific knowledge in this area has developed, it has become clear that the impact of parental lifestyle and behavioural choices extends beyond fetal development to influence the whole future life of the offspring.

Small changes in the developmental environment created by parental health and behaviour before birth, and the circumstances of life over the first few years after birth, leave persistent echoes on the child’s biology, operating both through what are called epigenetic processes and through learning.

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