You may have known that to protect your newborn’s brain, it’s necessary to take precaution steps before birth. Newborns, especially those with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), are at heightened risk of having brain injuries.
Research led by clinical researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital on whether pomegranate juice intake during pregnancy can have a protective effect is ongoing, and preliminary findings have revealed the probable positive results.
The preliminary study
The research studied a clinal trial of expectant mothers whose babies were diagnosed with IUGR. The results showed that infants whose mothers consumed pomegranate juice daily during pregnancy had better brain development and brain connectivity compared with infants whose mothers did not.
"Our study provides preliminary evidence suggesting potential protective effects for newborns exposed to pomegranate juice while in utero," said one of the researchers. "These findings warrant continued investigation into the potential neuroprotective effects of polyphenols in at-risk newborns, such as those with hypoxic-ischemic injury."
The ongoing research
To better understand the ongoing research, first let me give a brief introduction to IUGR and hypoxic-ischemic injury.
Intrauterine growth restriction, IUGR in short, refers to a condition in which the infant stays in a smaller place than it needs, which may lead to lack of oxygen and nutrients. This is a relatively common condition, since 1 in 10 babies is considered to have IUGR.
Apart from gestation, the process of birth itself can further decrease blood flow or oxygen to the baby, including, of course, the baby’s brain.
If this is very severe, it can result in hypoxic-ischemic injury, which contributes to almost 1/4 of newborn deaths worldwide.
Polyphenols, which include tannic acid and ellagitannins, are part of a class of antioxidants rich in pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice has been proved in previous studies to have protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases.
How much you should drink
For pregnant women, it’s necessary for you to consume 8 to 12 glasses of water or other fluids each day, and the amount should be increased if you sweat a lot.
Apart from polyphenols, pomegranate juice can also provide you with vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It’s okay for you to consume 2 to 3 glasses of pomegranate juice daily.