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How cutting out carbohydrates could lead to birth defects for your baby.

If you’re trying to lose weight, oftentimes the first thing to go is carbohydrates. And while a diet void of all carbohydrates is far from healthy, science now warns that for pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant, eliminating carbs could increase risks for your unborn child.

According to a study published in January 2018 in the journal “Birth Defects Research” by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, women with a low carb intake are 30 percent more likely to give birth to babies with neural tube defects. Neural tube defects include spina bifida (when the spine and spinal cord don’t form correctly) and anencephaly (missing portions of the brain and skull), which can lead to lifelong disability or death.

Lead researcher Tania Desrosiers, PhD, MPH and research assistant professor of epidemiology at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health cautions expectant mothers or women thinking of getting pregnant to “talk to their health care provider about any special diets or eating behaviors they routinely practice.”

Photo credit: Ignacio Campo, Unsplash