One Thousand Opportunities

When you think about providing for your baby’s health and well-being, you often think in terms of a couple of stretches of time. You probably think about the 180 days of pregnancy, for example. Indeed, taking care of yourself during pregnancy, making sure you get the nutrients your baby needs, and getting proper prenatal care are all key to your baby’s long-term health.

You probably also think about that first year – those first 365 days. The growth and development that your baby goes through in that year is faster and more intense than it will be at any other time in your baby’s life.

In the big picture, however, there is a much longer stretch to look at. According to researchers, it’s the entire first 1,000 days – from the time your baby is conceived until well into her twos – that will set the stage for long-term health and wellness.

Long-term problems start early

There are a number of health problems and chronic diseases that can be traced back to your baby’s development both in the womb and during those first couple of years. Everything from heart problems to diabetes to being overweight can be affected during that time.

Poor nutritional intake – for you while you’re pregnant or for your baby during those first couple of years – can create serious issues in the long run. Smoking or drug use by a pregnant woman most definitely can have detrimental effects, and put baby at risk.

Birth weight and heart problems

One of the more interesting pieces of information in this recent study is the connection between birth weight and heart problems later in life. The less a child weighs when she’s born, the more likely she will be to develop heart problems down the road.

Many of the health problems we face as adults come from the decisions that we make. However, some of them come from other places. Some are genetic, for example. In other cases, it’s that early development that seems to have an effect decades later.

So, what do you think? What kinds of changes to your diet or lifestyle can you make to give your little one a little extra health boost?


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