The amount of folk wisdom offered to expecting mothers can be overwhelming: Eat this, do not eat that, gain weight, but not too much weight, and so forth. Particularly if you have struggled to become or stay pregnant, the risks are all too real. Recently, a Journal of American Medicine study linked common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables to problematic reproductive assistance outcomes. When the birth process goes awry, interventions are needed, and can sometimes lead to birth injuries at the hands of well-intentioned but unskilled medical professionals.
High pesticide consumption linked with unsuccessful pregnancies
The JAMA study was not focused on any one particular pesticide or chemical. Instead, the emphasis was on pesticide residue, from unwashed or incompletely washed fruits and vegetables, and whether a high rate of consumption had any impact on the live birth rate. No mothers were told what to eat or what not to eat; instead, scientists measured the average intake of pesticide residue based on what the women reported eating. All the mothers were clients at a fertility center at a teaching hospital.
Scientists already knew that excessive pesticide intake in animals seemed to correlate to lower live birth rate, but were unsure of whether such a connection was true for humans, and particularly for women who had become pregnant using reproductive assistance or technology. The results suggested that women who had the highest average ingestion of pesticide residue had an 18% lower probability of becoming pregnant, and a 26% lower chance of having a live birth. It is important to note that all the women in the study ate levels of pesticide residue that were within the range of typical human exposure.
Common sense and good nutrition
Does this mean pregnant women should forego all fruits and vegetables? Clearly not. While organic foods may vary in terms of specific production and pesticide exposure, they are usually lower in pesticide residue than food not labeled as organic. Avoiding all fresh produce could have more significant negative results for your baby.
- Infants who lack vitamin K can have trouble clotting, and vitamin K is typically found in green, leafy vegetables.
- Folate is a B vitamin which protects babies from neural tube defects like spina bifida, and can be found in fruits; green, leafy vegetables; enriched grain-based products; and legumes.
- Calcium to builds a baby’s bones during a mother’s pregnancy. If she is not consuming enough calcium in her diet, her body will steal calcium from her own bones to make her baby strong, leaving her prone to osteoporosis as she ages. Calcium is ingested through dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods.
Even women who are just considering becoming pregnant should consume a balanced diet, including a multi-vitamin if a doctor thinks it is necessary. Birth injuries can result from doctors’ failure to note nutritional deficiencies in mothers and infants, possibly leading to permanent results, disabilities, or death. Consuming a diet that is nutrient-balanced and low in pesticides does not just improve the chances for women to become and stay pregnant, it allows any person to lead a full and healthy life.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our birth injury attorneys work diligently to make your needs, and the voice of your child and family, heard. If you are seeking an empathetic, adamant legal representative, please contact our Kentucky lawyers at 877-686-8879, our Ohio team at 877-686-8879, or use our contact form to make an appointment.
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