Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Prenatal Vitamin Supplementation for Healthy Childbirth


A study published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics indicates that regular use of multivitamins may reduce the risk of birth defects in infants born to mothers with diabetes.

It is now the standard of care for women of childbearing age to take supplements containing folic acid to reduce the risk of certain birth defects known as neural tube defects.

The most common of these is spina bifida. The study in particular highlighted the need for diabetic women to take multivitamins. The researchers studied a group of 3,278 women who had children with birth defects and 3,029 women who had healthy children born in Atlanta between the years 1968 to 1980.

In the study, diabetic women who reportedly used multivitamins on a regular basis were just as likely to have a healthy baby as non-diabetic women who also took multivitamins on a regular basis. However, women with diabetes who did not take a multivitamin were almost four times more likely to have a child with a birth defect compared to a non-diabetic woman who did not take a multivitamin. Researchers were not able to determine which nutrients in the multivitamin were producing the beneficial effect.

The results of this study are powerful. A woman of childbearing age can potentially save her child from a lifetime of future disability merely by consuming a multivitamin every day. Fortunately, most obstetricians over the years have come to realize the benefits of supplemental nutrition and routinely prescribe prenatal vitamins. Those naysayers of vitamins would be hard pressed to argue against the results of this study.

If a woman consuming a multivitamin can have a major effect on the outcome of her developing fetus, would it not seem logical that that same multivitamin would likewise have some beneficial effect on her own well-being? Further, many studies now indicate DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) is critical for the healthy development of a child’s brain, vision and nervous system. The need for DHA starts at conception and the mother must consume it to provide it to her developing fetus and the child later in breast milk.

It is generally not recommended that individuals consume supplemental iron (unless you have a known iron deficiency), for women of childbearing age and especially pregnant women, supplemental iron is crucial.

Also, Ferrochel is much less toxic and better tolerated when compared to other forms of iron. Look for a supplement that contains excellent amounts of Ester-C, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and even DHA. These levels are far superior when compared to other prenatal vitamins. Higher levels of vitamins C, E and magnesium may also reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a dangerous rise in blood pressure that can harm the mother and child.

References & Further Reading:

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