High Fat Diet and Birth Defects

by Sarah Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & ChildComments: 12

It seems clear that a surefire way to be ill is to listen to the media for health advice.  

Not only do the contradictions run rampant from one year to the next, but the manipulation of data and the misleading way information is reported is astonishing.

Case in point, there was a highly publicized article just last week that British researchers had “discovered” that women who ate a high fat diet before and during pregnancy were much more likely to have babies with birth defects such as cleft palate or congenital heart disease.  


Talk about incredibly misleading!       

How many different kinds of fat are there?   Well, there are omega 3 fats, omega 6 fats, omega 9 fats, saturated fats, medium chain saturated fats, partially hydogenated (trans) fats.   

Have I missed any?

Which fats are the researchers talking about, for heaven’s sake?   This is a pretty critical piece of information that is conveniently missing from the report, don’t you think?

This ridiculous report is also at odds with a previously published study by Harvard University in 2008 that showed that women who eat full fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy items increase their odds of conception!  

Mmmmm?  High fat increasing odds of conception but also increasing birth defects?   Reading these two reports seems to indicate that Nature can’t make up Her mind, doesn’t it?     

Something else is obviously at work here as Mother Nature is not confused!

Trans Fats are the Real Villain

It is consumption of partially hydrogenated (trans) fats by pregnant women that are responsible for birth defects. 

Why didn’t the report clearly identify them as such?

These dangerous and extremely unhealthy factory fats that are highly prevalent in processed foods have been linked with other ills for pregnant and lactating women, including reduced fat content in breastmilk which risks failure to thrive in the infant.   

Trans fats have also been previously linked with birth defects in other studies. 

Whole, Natural Fats are Critical to Fetal Health

Unfortunately, women who read this report are likely to be manipulated into avoiding all fats.  

Doing so would be devastating to the fetus.   

Omega 3 fats are critical to fetal brain and visual development and some studies have found that avoiding them may even risk preterm birth.     The brain is over 60% fat after all – how can avoiding natural, quality fats before and during pregnancy be anything but destructive to the baby’s brain development?

High quality saturated fats from grassfed animals are also very important for a woman to consume during pregnancy as this wonderful, natural fat is a plentiful source of vitamins A and D which are significant for proper bone development of the baby as well as every other system of the body.   

Fermented Cod Liver is a very good source of omega 3 fats as well as natural vitamins A and D.

Even the human mammary gland produces lauric acid, a medium chain saturated fat with potent anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.   Pregnant women should take care to consume this wonderful fat primarily found in coconut and palm oils to keep themselves healthy and well during pregnancy as pregnancy is known to depress the immune system.    

How to Know What is a Truly Healthy Pre-Conception and Pregnancy Diet?

Where does a woman turn to get pre-conception and pregnancy advice that is not misleading, contradictory, or just plain wrong?

Not media reports, that is for sure.    You need a PhD in Common Sense to sort through the truth versus the nonsense that is reported on health nowadays.

I would recommend that anyone contemplating pregnancy check out this link for information on the correct diet for pregnant and lactating women.   The information is based on the travels of Dr. Weston A. Price back in the early 1900’s.   Dr. Price studied indigenous cultures and documented the pregnancy diet of these women who rarely, if ever, had a child with a birth defect.  

Following this pregnancy diet is proven to produce sturdy, strong, intelligent children.   

Health information with no hidden agenda – hooray for transparency!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

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