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Pregnant women have long felt the pressure to monitor their eating and drinking habits to ensure their baby gets the best possible start. But what about dads? Technically, their bodies are entirely separate entities from their child’s, so you might think they could eat all the chips and candy they want. But this is not the case. A new study from Australia has found that a father’s eating habits during his partner’s pregnancy can play a major role in his baby’s well-being.

Led by the Queensland Family Cohort and run by the University of Queensland and Mater Research, a study of about 200 couples in Queensland, Australia, who were all in heterosexual relationships and expecting babies, examined how an expectant father’s diet could affect his baby’s health. The couples all agreed to report on their eating habits to give an idea of ​​how the father’s diet might affect things.

It turns out expectant dads who followed the recommended daily dietary guidelines helped their pregnant partners do the same. The guidelines included plenty of fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains, and there was a direct link between a father’s compliance with dietary guidelines and a mother’s diet. For example, only 28.4% of mothers consumed enough vegetables compared to 15% of dads, while 41.4% of moms ate enough fruit compared to 31% of dads.

Essentially, these dads helped their pregnant partner follow their own healthy eating habits by being a good team player. After all, it’s pretty hard to stick to a healthy diet if the person you live with eats junk food all the time in front of you.

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Naturally, healthy eating habits during pregnancy are one of the ways a baby can thrive in the long run. “A healthy diet during pregnancy provides the unborn child with an important foundation for good future health, but many pregnant women do not meet the recommended Australian dietary guidelines,” said Professor Vicki Clifton, who was the lead researcher. of this study for Queensland Family Cohort. explained to ABC.net.au. “Research suggests that better education and support from partners could help improve the eating habits of expectant mothers, which in turn will make the fetus healthier and reduce its future risk of disease.”

“While education, income and body mass index are known to influence how women eat during pregnancy, this study addresses the lack of knowledge about how a partner’s eating habits influence expectant motherssaid Dr Shelley Wilkinson, one of the study’s lead authors, at the University of Queensland.

Supporting a mom-to-be by sharing her food choices isn’t the only way a dad can help keep his baby healthy. A 2013 study from McGill University in Montreal found that a higher level of vitamin B9 or folate in a dad’s diet before conception can be critical for the healthy development of a baby, for World News. This vitamin is found in leafy greens, some meats and fortified grains, and is an important component to help prevent possible birth defects.

It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a couple to adopt a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Studies

Queensland Family Cohort Study (2022), https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/17470080