Is There a Good Time to Eat Junk Food in Pregnancy?

We all know about the importance of taking folic acid and eating well during pregnancy to maintain good health for ourselves and our developing babies. Still, many of us experience pregnancy cravings. And hey, with all the work our bodies are doing to grow those babes, we deserve to embrace those sometimes unhealthy cravings from time to time, right?

I'll be the first to confess: I was like an animal whenever Red Vines were around last year when I was carrying my twins. And though it's not my secret to tell, my editor confessed to eating a Sarabeth's muffin nearly every day while pregnant with her second child, after passing her gestational diabetes test!

Well, if you're going to indulge in junk food while pregnant, new research suggests there are actually better and worse times to do so for your developing baby.

University of Adelaide researchers have shown there are two important periods when junk food is most dangerous. These latest findings branch off from earlier research that demonstrated that mamas who eat junk food during their pregnancies are laying a foundation for babies who are addicted to a high-fat, high-sugar diet by the time they are weaned.

The new studies show the two times to "turn around this junk food addiction" are in late pregnancy—as well as in adolescence.

"Our research suggests that too much junk food consumed late in pregnancy for humans has the potential to be more harmful to the child than excess junk food early in the pregnancy," wrote Jessica Gugusheff, post-doctoral researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

The good news is this gives moms a chance to set things right as their pregnancies progress.

Gugusheff wrote, "Importantly, it also indicates that if excess junk food was consumed by the mother in those early stages of pregnancy, there may be a chance to reduce those negative effects on the baby by eating a healthy diet in late pregnancy."

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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