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Nutrition and pregnancy refers to the nutrient intake, and dietary planning that is undertaken before, during and after pregnancy. Nutrition of the fetus begins at conception. For this reason, the nutrition of the mother is important from before conception (probably several months before) as well as throughout pregnancy and breast feeding. An ever-increasing number of studies have shown that the nutrition of the mother will have an effect on the child, up to and including the risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes throughout life.
An inadequate or excessive amount of some nutrients may cause malformations or medical problems in the fetus, and neurological disorders and handicaps are a risk that is run by mothers who are malnourished. An estimated 24% of babies worldwide are born with lower than optimal weights at birth due to lack of proper nutrition. Personal habits such as consumption of alcohol or large amounts of caffeine can negatively and irreversibly affect the development of the baby, which happens in the early stages of pregnancy.

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