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The supplement you need for a healthier baby
A child’s size when born is a key indicator of how healthy a baby he is. Research at the University of Birmingham in England shows that women can take an important supplement that helps kids grow larger and healthier in the womb.
The study shows that when a woman of childbearing age begins taking folic acid supplements before conceiving a child, she significantly reduces the chances of giving birth to a small baby.
The scientists point out that smaller babies run a greater risk of serious illness and have increased chances in their lifetimes of suffering high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and mental health difficulties.
The researchers also note that more studies are necessary to precisely identify how folic acid supplements improve birth weights as well as to understand the optimal amount that should be taken.
“Increased uptake of folic acid prior to pregnancy and throughout the first trimester could have significant public health benefits given the poor outcomes associated with SGA babies,” says researcher Khaled Ismail, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “New strategies are therefore vital to improve the lives of both mothers and babies.”
According to John Thorp, the deputy editor-in-chief of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (where the study was published): “The population study is the largest database to look at the timing of folate intake and the risk of a baby being SGA (small for gestational age). The findings of this study are of particular importance because growth restriction is known to be associated with poor short and long term outcomes and currently there are no established preventative treatment options for SGA.”