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Multi-vitamins improve birth weight, ginger relieves nausea and NAC reduces risk for miscarriage

Women who took supplements while pregnant had healthier babies, less nausea and more successful pregnancies than women who did not take supplements, in several new studies.

Doctors know that underweight newborns suffer immediately and later in life and wanted to see if an inexpensive vitamin/mineral supplement could safely improve birth weight and health later on.

Researchers followed more than 900 Nepalese children for three years after birth, half of whose mothers had taken 15 vitamins and minerals daily, while half had taken only iron and folic acid daily from the fourth month of pregnancy. Children whose moms had taken the multi-vitamin/mineral weighed an average of about 3 ounces more at birth than those whose moms had not taken the supplement and over 7 ounces more at 30 months. Children in the multi-vitamin/mineral group also had more well-balanced body growth and lower blood pressure than those whose moms did not take the multi-vitamin/mineral.

When moms eat poorly, their newborns are less healthy, but in this study, doctors wanted to check in with children as they grew. Researchers measured blood levels of vitamins in over 300 mothers and their babies at birth and at six and 12 months, and found that, at all three periods, babies whose moms had good folate levels had healthier weight and body measurements than babies whose mothers were deficient in folate. Babies whose moms had high vitamin C levels were taller and weighed more than those from moms with lower vitamin C levels.

In a nausea study, 70 women began taking 1 gram of ginger or 40 mg of vitamin B6 per day on or before the fourth month of pregnancy. After four days, 83 percent in the ginger group and 67 percent in the vitamin B6 group reported much less nausea and vomiting without side effects.

In a miscarriage study, doctors thought antioxidants might reduce the oxidative stress that can trigger a miscarriage. Over 160 pregnant women who had had a miscarriage took 600 mg of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) plus 500 mcg of folic acid per day or folic acid alone. Women who took NAC delivered significantly more babies than women who did not take NAC.

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