All of my pregnant patients take a prenatal vitamin based on what would be best for the developing fetus. I have even found a prenatal vitamin that I like so much that I put my own private label on it.
Now a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has been published showing the importance of vitamin A and its relationship to lung development in the womb.
In this study, that was led by Wiliam Checkley, M.D., over 1600 children in Nepal were evaluated. Some of the mothers were given vitamin A pills during pregnancy and others were given placebo. An additional set of women was given beta-carotene which is a derivative of vitamin A.
The findings were that the children whose mothers had received vitamin A had significantly better lung function than those whose mothers who were given placebo or beta-carotene during pregnancy. These benefits were even measurable at age 9 in the children.
This study allows us to see the benefit of another nutrient, in this case vitamin A, and, and it's importance for optimal fetal development.
It is estimated that 190 million preschool age children and 19 million pregnant women have vitamin A deficiency worldwide. This deficiency can cause health problems during the development of the child, including lung issues.
Dr. Wiliam Checkley, the author of this study, was quoted as saying "Early interventions involving vitamin A supplementation in communities where undernutrition is highly prevalent may have long-lasting consequences for lung health". He went on to say "The magnitude of the effect observed in this study is slightly greater than that associated with preventing exposure to parental smoking in school-aged children."
I certainly urge you to speak with all your friends and relatives about being sure that the pregnant women in their life are taking a prenatal vitamin containing vitamin A.
Studies like this one, along with the many studies of the role of vitamin D during pregnancy that I have discussed here, make me wonder what would the health of the planet be like, if fetuses received an optimal degree of nutrition while in the womb? Given the epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and combining it with this information on vitamin A makes me wonder if these deficiencies are associated with the asthma epidemic we now see in American children
Let me know your thoughts? Do your friends and family take a prenatal and vitamin A while they were pregnant?