Congenital heart disease affects 1 in 1000 babies in the UK, with some forms being mild and very treatable while others prove fatal. Recent investigations in the US suggest that the diet of pregnant women can affect the probability of their baby developing heart problems. Folic acid and vitamin D are already recommended supplements for pregnant women to reduce some birth defects, such as spinal problems. Of the 19,000 women surveyed, those with the top diet quality were recorded to have the lowest risk of having a baby with heart problems.
Medicine students could think about other actions an expecting mother could do to reduce health risks of her baby.
Those considering studying Biology should think about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet, and the importance of maintaining this diet in the long-term. Biological Natural Sciences and Maths students should also consider the limitations of this survey in the US with regard to the sample size and demographic profile of the women tested.
In England, the government has the resources to provide vouchers for pregnant women, on low incomes, so they can buy milk and vegetables. PPE and HSPS should contemplate how the economic development of countries can affect pregnant women in being able to keep to the suggested diet, and the wider impacts of this.
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