A revista Economist publicou 2 artigos extremamente importantes, que deviam merecer a atenção de qualquer pessoa, principalmente dos responsáveis por políticas públicas.
Basicamente o que se comprovou é que a vida que a mãe tem durante a gravidez vai influenciar decisivamente toda a vida do filho. Pode parecer pouco aos olhares menos atentos, mas aqui está o possível inicio de uma mudança séria: investir fortemente nos 9 meses em que a mulher está gravida pode mudar o mundo! Lição séria para as futuras mães: levar a melhor vida possível (e nada é impossível!), a todos os níveis, durante a gravidez (de preferência começar antes, e para sempre, mas pelo menos durante estes 9 meses!).
Ficam aqui as principais passagens dos artigos, com os links em baixo:
Now a growing body of research is showing that problems caused by the prenatal environment may not be apparent at birth, but can resonate throughout life. Infections, hunger, stress and air pollution have been implicated in a host of long-term problems for those exposed to them in utero, including bad health, poor school results and lower earnings. Even relatively minor exposure can increase the odds of suffering from chronic disease or disability.
So some of the strongest evidence has come from comparing those in the womb during sudden calamities such as famines, natural disasters and environmental accidents with those born just before or after.
One theory is that adversity during pregnancy “switches on” genes that predispose an unborn child to chronic illness.
One sobering conclusion is that children born to poor mothers are at an even greater lifelong disadvantage than previously thought. Poorer people are more likely to go hungry and less likely to know what pregnant women should eat.
In developing countries newborn babies face a wide range of hazards that they were protected from in the womb, at least partly. These include dirty water, gross undernourishment and infectious disease. That is why development experts emphasise the importance of the “first 1,000 days”—the nine months spent in the womb and the first two years outside it.
Tanzanian children who were in utero during iodine-supplement programmes did better in school; the gains were equivalent to six months of extra schooling. A monthly nurse-visiting scheme in America for poor unmarried first-time expectant mothers, which started when they first came to a clinic for prenatal care and continued until their children turned two, led to fewer delinquent adolescents.
Fetuses are harmed when their mothers are stressed. Several pieces of research have found that bereavement or exposure to airborne pollution during pregnancy has negative effects on the unborn baby in later life. Even irregular eating patterns turn out to be damaging.
In all this, there is also a big opportunity. Pregnancy is relatively short and expectant mothers are easy to identify and reach, since nearly all see a doctor. And fetal-origins effects can be large.
So attempts to improve fetal health could realise big gains without breaking the bank. To give more children the best chance in life, pay more attention to what happens to them in the womb.