The nutrition a child receives in their first 1000 days of life can have a lifelong impact on their health. This period in a child’s development, from pre-conception up to two years of age, is fundamental to help prepare them for a lifetime of good health and healthy eating habits. And research has shown that a baby’s good health starts with good maternal health.
“We really want to help parents understand and choose the best nutrition at critical stages,” says Carmela Maturi, Marketing Manager at Nestlé Canada. “We do this in a number of ways, including promoting the benefits of breastfeeding, offering a wealth of nutritional advice, tools and information on our Nestlé Baby and Materna websites and providing a variety of products for babies and toddlers at all stages. And most recently, we’ve partnered with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada to elevate the awareness and importance of folic acid in early pregnancy.”
Start healthy, stay healthy
While parents play a crucial role in nourishing their children throughout their lives, nutrition during pregnancy is of particular importance to encourage a healthy start for both mom and baby.
All women need to ensure they receive adequate nutrition in order to reach and maintain proper levels of vitamins and minerals. But these nutritional requirements are especially significant for women of childbearing age, as certain vitamins and minerals can help decrease the risk of some birth defects.
The role of folic acid
One of these crucial vitamins is folic acid. During pregnancy, women need folic acid to support the rapid cell growth that occurs. Research shows that women who receive sufficient amounts of folic acid before conception and throughout pregnancy can lower the risk of their baby developing birth defects like a neural tube defect (NTD).
NTDs are birth defects that occur very early on in pregnancy and can lead to abnormalities of the skull, brain and spinal cord. In Canada, the most common of these abnormalities affects the spinal cord – a condition known as spina bifida. These conditions can occur as early as the first three to four weeks of a baby's development, before many women even realize they’re pregnant.
Getting enough folic acid
In order to get enough folic acid every day, Canadian experts recommend a healthy diet based on a variety of foods including those rich in folate, like dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, certain beans and legumes, and fortified grains.
As it can be difficult for pregnant women or women of childbearing age to get sufficient amounts of folic acid from food alone, both Health Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) recommend folic acid supplementation. Health Canada recommends that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin containing 0.4 mg folic acid every day. The SOGC also recommends that women with no personal health risks take a daily multivitamin with 0.4 mg to 1.0 mg of folic acid at least 12 weeks before conception, throughout pregnancy, and for four to six weeks postpartum or as long as breastfeeding continues.
While a healthy diet should always be the primary focus, prenatal multivitamins are a smart way to help ensure good nutrition. A prenatal/postpartum multivitamin, like Materna, can fill nutritional gaps, helping ensure women have the nutrients they need to support a healthy pregnancy and healthy child.
Nestlé Materna – the #1 Doctor Recommended Prenatal/Postpartum Multivitamin1
As part of Nestlé’s global acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition, Nestlé Canada has acquired Materna, the #1 Doctor Recommended Prenatal/Postpartum Multivitamin1. Nestlé Materna is specifically designed for preconception, pregnant and breastfeeding women to support their health and the healthy development of their growing baby. It’s a complete prenatal multivitamin that contains 23 essential nutrients to help ensure good nutritional support – including higher levels of folic acid and iron than a regular multivitamin.
“Nestlé Materna is one way we can help both mom and baby with a healthy start,” says Maturi. “It’s one pill for all stages – providing nutritional support before, during and after pregnancy.”
For more information:
12013 Nestlé Infant
Formula Usage & Attitudes Study