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90% Of Pregnant Women Lacking Essential Nutrients For Healthy Babies, Study Finds

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Pregnant women are not getting the essential nutrients they and their babies need from modern diets, especially vegetarian and vegan ones. PHOTO BY SHVETS PRODUCTION/PEXELS 

Pregnant women are not getting the essential nutrients they and their babies need from modern diets, especially vegetarian and vegan ones.

A new study, which analyzed the health of more than 1,700 expectant mothers from high-income countries such as the UK, New Zealand, and Singapore, found that 90 percent were lacking the key vitamins necessary for a healthy pregnancy and healthy newborn.

Women were found to be deficient in vitamins B12, B6, D, folic acid, and riboflavin – all of which are crucial when it comes to the development of fetuses in the womb.

Results suggested that the majority of women had low levels of B12, D, folic acid, and riboflavin from around the time of conception, while most developed a B6 deficiency later in pregnancy.

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A new study, which analyzed the health of more than 1,700 expectant mothers from high-income countries such as the UK, New Zealand, and Singapore, found that 90 percent were lacking the key vitamins necessary for a healthy pregnancy and healthy newborn. PHOTO BY COTTONBRO STUDIO/PEXELS 

Scientists pointed out that most of these nutrients are found in abundance in meat and dairy products, which led them to draw a link between deficiencies in pregnancy and vegan and vegetarian diets.

Lead author Keith Godfrey, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southampton, said: “The push to reduce our dependence on meat and dairy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions is likely to further deplete expecting mothers of vital vitamins, which could have lasting effects on unborn children.

“Our study shows that almost every woman trying to conceive had insufficient levels of one or more vitamin, and this figure is only going to get worse as the world move towards plant-based diets.

“People think that nutrient deficiency only affects people in underdeveloped countries, but it is also affecting the majority of women living in high-income nations.”

Researchers said that for those who wish to continue with plant-based diets, over-the-counter supplements will be necessary for the health of pregnant women and unborn babies – with the study the first to show that these supplements can reduce vitamin deficiencies during preconception, pregnancy, and lactational periods.

Associate Professor Shiao-Yng Chan, from the National University of Singapore, explained: “If we continue to move towards diets with less meat and less dairy products, reducing intakes of micronutrients essential for a child’s development, vitamin deficiencies will continue to grow unless women start taking more supplements or are supported with specific advice about nutrient-rich foods.”

A new study, which analyzed the health of more than 1,700 expectant mothers from high-income countries such as the UK, New Zealand, and Singapore, found that 90 percent were lacking the key vitamins necessary for a healthy pregnancy and healthy newborn. PHOTO BY COTTONBRO STUDIO/PEXELS 

Wayne Cutfield, professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Auckland, added: “The wellbeing of a mother ahead of conceiving and during a pregnancy has a direct influence on the health of the infant, their lifelong physical development, and their ability to learn.”

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The study, published in the medical journal PLOS Medicine, was carried out by scientists from the University of Southampton, the University of Auckland, the National University of Singapore, and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Research and Technology.

Researchers assessed 1,729 women between the ages of 18 and 38 at the time of conception – and then followed many throughout their subsequent pregnancies.

 

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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