EGGS could play an important role in improving the nutrition of babies and young toddlers, says a new review of the latest nutritional research.

It warns that babies’ health is being put at risk by poor diets during the critical first 1001 days of ‘life’ (from actual conception to 2 years of age), and that 90% of pregnant women were lacking key vitamins necessary for healthy pregnancies and the future wellbeing of their babies.  

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“Nutrients such as high-quality protein, vitamin D, choline and folate are particularly critical for babies’ development during the first 1001 days, and eggs are one of the few natural foods that contain all of them,” claims the review’s author, Dr Emma Derbyshire.

“But many women mistakenly cut eggs out of the diet during this period, despite previous concerns about food safety and allergy having been overturned.

In fact, avoiding eggs could increase the chance of the baby developing an allergy.”

Only half of babies given eggs

The report highlights that only half of babies between 6-12 months old are being given eggs, missing out on nutrients vital for development.

A combination of ultra-processed food (UPF), the cost-of-living crisis, confusion over the latest weaning advice, and the avoidance of animal products, means that many pregnant women and babies were not eating natural, nutrient-dense foods such as eggs, the review found.

The new paper reviewed research published in the last five years, analysing the significant impact of nutrition during the first 1001 days of life, when enormous physiological changes take place during pregnancy, breastfeeding and infancy.  

Bio-available nutrients

Dr Derbyshire concluded: “Few everyday foods provide the right combination of nutrients in a bio-available format for this critical period.

“Eggs are unique in containing the array of key nutrients needed to support a developing embryo, as well as being affordable and practical, so midwives and other healthcare professionals need to encourage mums to include them in their and their babies’ diets.”

*The Role of Egg Consumption in the First 1001 Days of Life: A Narrative Review of recent research, was published in the British Journal of Midwifery.