If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that taking a multivitamin with folic acid before you get pregant can reduce your future babies risk of being born with a neural tube defect (NTDs are serious problems with the brain or spine). According to a new Danish study, just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it could lower your risk of preterm labor, too!
Poor nutrition is thought to play a role in pregnancy complications, such as preterm births and poor growth rates within the womb. The researchers asked 36,000 pregnant Danish womenabout their diet, weight and vitamin use.
Among those who said they had taken multivitamins at least eight out of the 12 weeks before conception, there were 4.3 percent preterm births (before 37 weeks). For those who didn’t take the supplements, the number was 5.3 percent. The vitamin-popping women were also less likely to have a smaller-than-normal baby.
While not conclusive, study findings are similar to those of a similar 2010 study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In this study, women who took folic acid at least 1 year before getting pregnant had a greatly reduced risk for having a premie.
Great news for women thinking of getting pregnant!
In California, 1 in 12 babies are born too early. Babies born before 37 weeks are not yet fully developed. Some babies who are born too early don’t live. Those who do survive often have serious life-long problems like blindness, deafness, lung problems, heart problems, liver problems, retardation, learning disabilities, difficulty eating, anemia, and cerebral palsy.
Some nutritionists recommend that pregnant women or women who are thinking of becoming pregnant not take mega-doses of certain vitamins. However, it’s hard to eat right all of the time. If you’re planning to get pregnant, eating right + taking a good daily multi with 100% of the RDA for all major vitamins (vs. mega-doses) can give you added insurance that you’re doing everything you can for your future baby’s health.
San Francisco Women – Get Your Free Vitamins!
If you are a woman between the ages of 14-50 and live in San Francisco, you can get a year’s supply of FREE multivitamins from the SF Dept. of Public Health. Click here to find out how. And to get the most out of your vitamins, read our recent post on this topic.