Can a particular diet affect mental & physical development of the baby in womb?

A post claiming different diets required for a baby to attain particular cognitive and physical qualities in the womb is taking rounds on social media.

By Sunanda Naik  Published on  5 Dec 2022 1:20 PM GMT
Can a particular diet affect mental & physical development of the baby in womb?

An Instagram post claiming different diets required for a baby to attain particular cognitive and physical qualities in the womb is taking rounds on social media.

The viral post includes number of claims including -

Claim 1- Curd enhances mental ability.

Claim 2- Orange enhances the skin tone of the baby.

Claim 3- Coconut for easy and painless delivery.

During pregnancy, your diet should be closely monitored and should include more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating unhealthily or making the wrong choices causes problems for the mother and the baby.

Can any particular food item change physical or mental abilities of the baby if consumed during pregnancy?

Let's debunk the claim one by one.

Fact Check

Claim 1- Curd enhances mental ability.

According to UCLA Health, 'Unsweetened yogurt is an easy, kid-friendly way to support brain growth. It contains nutrients such as protein, zinc, choline and iodine. Children need iodine to produce thyroid hormones, which are vital to brain development and neurological processes. Even mild iodine deficiency may affect a child's overall cognitive function and ability to reason.'

Moreover, 'No one food' or 'superfood' can ensure optimal brain development for toddlers. But some foods are packed with a variety of the necessary nutrients. Just be sure to monitor all new foods to ensure there's no potential allergy', the article warns.

Claim 2- Orange enhances the skin tone of the baby.

No, there is no scientific evidence to back the claim that consuming oranges during pregnancy will make the baby fair skinned.

According to Medical News Today, 'Oranges are great for keeping a person hydrated and healthy. Vitamin C can help prevent cell damage and assist with iron absorption.'

"Oranges are safe to eat during pregnancy, but you should have them in moderation. They provide plenty of nutrients and are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, potassium, and more. In order to reap the benefits of oranges, you can consume them every day," says Mom Junction.

Moreover, it also says, 'when eaten in excess they have some uncomfortable side effects. The high fiber content in oranges affects digestion directly. When eaten too much, this might lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.'

Claim 3- Coconut induces painless delivery.

No, there is no evidence to prove raw coconut to ease labour. Rather, NewsMeter found that 'Coconut kernel or meat is the flesh of the tender green coconut, which is nutritious. Coconut flesh from tender green coconuts is sweet. However, the total sugar content of the same is less compared to many other fruits. Also, it is rich in protein and minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorus. This nutrition profile makes it a wise choice to eat coconut meat during pregnancy.', says Mom Junction. But, there would be no significant role during labour and yet moderate consumption is the key.

It is evident that none of the claims is backed with sufficient clinical evidence. Any food item consumed during pregnancy is beneficial only if consumed in moderation. Overdoing can make the situation worse. As of now, more research is needed to prove any of the claims related to pregnancy.

Hence, the claim stands false.

Claim Review:Diet can affect mental and physical abilities of baby.
Claimed By:Social media user
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Instagram
Claim Fact Check:False
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