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Vitamins help pregnant women have an easier birth

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Taking nutritional supplements when you’re pregnant will increase the chances of an easy birth without complications.

A major study, involving nearly 100,000 women over six years, has discovered that multi-vitamin supplements—along with iron and folic acid—halve the risk of a low birth rate.  Less than 10 percent of the women who supplemented gave birth to an underweight baby, defined as 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs), when the worldwide average is closer to 20 percent.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine gave supplements to 96,341 pregnant women in Botswana between 2014 and 2020, including multivitamins, selenium, zinc, copper, iron and folate.

They say that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that pregnant women need to take only iron and folate doesn’t go far enough, and that they should also be taking a range of multivitamins and micronutrients.

In their study, the researchers found that nearly 17 percent of the women who followed WHO guidelines and took only iron and folate had babies with a low birth weight, while this happened to just 11 percent of those who also took multivitamins.

Women taking multivitamins also reduced their risk of a preterm birth or a caesarean section. 

Lancet Global Health, 2022; 10: e850

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Article Topics: Childbirth
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