pregnant woman with a glass of mil

B12 deficiency can lead to increased preterm births

The diet of a pregnant woman is very important as it not only affects her health but the health of her unborn child. Low weight and preterm births are found to be the cause of 50 per cent of infant deaths globally.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with both lower birth weight and preterm birth. B12 is an essential nutrient found only in animal products such as dairy, meat and eggs. Pregnant women who do not consume enough animal-derived food run the risk of developing B12 deficiency.

Even though the study found that B12 deficiency is associated with increased preterm births, very little is known about the role of B12 supplements in reducing preterm births.

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient necessary for vital bodily functions such as the production of red blood cells and cellular metabolic energy. Without B12, people can develop severe anaemia and damage to the nervous system.

The human body does not produce this very vital nutrient and has to be derived through products of animal origin.

In an in-depth study that included 11,216 pregnancies from 11 countries, researchers found that low levels of B12 was associated with an increased risk in preterm birth.

No linear association was found between low levels of B12 in pregnant women and birth weight of newborns. However, researchers did find that B12 deficiency during pregnancy resulted in 21 per cent increased risk of premature births.

These results were independent of countries with high, middle or low average incomes.

B12 deficiency is less in countries where high levels of animal products are consumed such as Norway and other Western countries but in countries like India, where vegetarian diets are predominant, more than 66 per cent of pregnant women have high levels of B12 deficiency.

While vegetarians consume dairy and eggs, vegan diets exclude these important foods which are a vital source of B12 and would need dietary advice during pregnancy to add B12 to their diets.

The results of this study support the need for further investigation into B12 supplementation in pregnancy to help mitigate the risk of preterm births.

Vitamin B12 is essential for health and more so for pregnant women and their babies. Making dietary changes to supplement such deficiencies becomes vital during pregnancy and new research is headed in that direction.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

You May Also Like

Sugar Cravings They Got To Go Heres How

Sugar Cravings? They’ve got to go- here’s how!

Gmo Genetically Modified Food And Its Effects On The Human Body

GMO (Genetically modified food) and its effects on the human body

Wheat Free Vs Gluten Free Bread Allergy Intolerance

Wheat free, whole wheat and your health

Natural Remedy Cold Flu Season

Cold and flu season – what to do to raise your immunity