Your Child’s First 1,000 Days and the Important Role Nutrition Plays

The experts from Cytoplan explain the importance of nutrition for mum and baby

Early life, from conception through to infancy, is a period of growth and development more significant than at any other stage of life. This critical period, also known as the ‘First 1,000 Days’ provides a window of opportunity for you and your baby; to nourish your own body and promote a healthy pregnancy before, during and after birth and to support the health of your baby, at birth and throughout their life too.

Recent studies suggest that diet changes throughout pregnancy such as food cravings, morning sickness and loss of appetite can leave women feeling worried about the loss of control over their diet and nutrition.

It is widely known that a folic acid supplement is strongly advised by healthcare professionals from conception to support babies as they grow but what does ‘optimal nutrition’ mean and what are the vitamins and minerals we should think about for the first 1000 days for mum and baby? Below we take a look at the key nutrients required and the important role of nutrition in the journey from conception to infancy as a new mum and beyond.

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Folic Acid

Folic Acid (or folate) plays a crucial role in pregnancy and foetal development as it is essential for cell division and tissue growth. It is recognised as one of the key nutrients required for the formation and development of a baby’s brain. Folate can be sourced from plant-based foods including green leafy vegetables, cabbage, legumes, whole grain products, tomatoes and oranges.

Vitamins: B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin A

B12 works together with Folic acid, Vitamin D is important to ensure healthy bone growth and can help support against postpartum depression. Vitamin A is essential for formation of organs in the foetus and plays a role in immune function. Together these vitamins are vital to ensure the healthy growth of baby and the health of mum too. You can get all of these vitamins from diet, however where there may be a gap caused by diet changes, it might be useful to support yourself with high quality vitamin supplements.

Minerals: Choline, Calcium, Magnesium, Iodine, Iron, Zinc

Calcium supports bone growth in baby but may also help to maintain bone density in the mum. Magnesium is essential in women’s health and it is estimated that over half of the women in the UK are deficient in this mineral which helps to reduce incidences of high blood pressure and is important for insulin balance, glucose control and can even help with leg cramps and sleep too!

Iodine is an essential nutrient for baby growth and also supports thyroid function in mum, while maintaining iron levels is essential for pregnancy and brain function for both mum and baby. Zinc is required for the activity of over 300 enzymes and is essential for life, growth, and development too!

Omega 3

While pregnant it’s advised to eat two portions of oily fish per week, but avoiding larger fish such as tuna. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of preterm birth, low birthweight and pre-eclampsia. Omega 3 plays a role in the immune system and might reduce the risk of atopic conditions such as eczema, asthma, allergies and respiratory conditions.


The mother’s gut flora plays an essential role in fertility, pregnancy and the health of the baby and a balanced gut microbiota has been shown to protect against atopic conditions such as allergy, eczema and asthma in babies. It is also essential for the development of the baby’s immune system.

So, whether you are planning for a baby, currently pregnant or have recently become a mother, providing your body with the right levels of key nutrients is one of the best things you can do to support your health and the health of your baby. Very high intakes of some nutrients are not recommended in pregnancy but taking a balanced pregnancy multivitamin to bridge any nutritional gaps can be a safe and supportive solution.

Pregna-Plan is a wholefood supplement formula comprising optimal levels of all key nutrients necessary for both the health of mum and baby before and during pregnancy and through breast-feeding. The formula comprises wholefood minerals that are gentle and effective, being used by the body in the same way as nutrients from food. To find out more about Cytoplan’s pregnancy multivitamin supplement; Pregna-Plan.

For information about the role of nutrition before, during and after pregnancy head to Cytoplan’s Pregnancy Health Insight here.

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