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Prenatal vitamins, vitamin D and ginger help women carry to term

Prenatal vitamins reduced miscarriage, vitamin D lowered bacterial infections during pregnancy, and ginger relieved nausea, in three new studies.

In a miscarriage study, about 4,800 U.S. women enrolled in the West Virginia Right From the Start Project over an eight-year period, during which they intended to get pregnant. Nearly all of the women (95 percent) reported taking prenatal vitamins. Researchers found that those who took any vitamins during pregnancy were less than half as likely to have a miscarriage compared to women who did not take vitamins.

Doctors in a study of infection in pregnancy explained that bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the leading causes of preventable preterm births and wanted to see if vitamin D improved the chances of avoiding BV. Researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D in over 460 women who were less than 16 weeks pregnant. Three-quarters had low vitamin D levels and over half were deficient. Overall, 41 percent of the women had BV and those who were deficient in vitamin D were about 2.5 times more likely to have BV than were women with good vitamin D levels.

In a nausea study, about 70 pregnant women who complained of nausea and vomiting took 1,000 mg of ginger in four 250 mg capsules per day or a placebo. Researchers matched characteristics of the women in both groups, average age 23 and average 13 weeks pregnant, and similar numbers of previous births, types of occupations, and education.

After four days, half the ginger group had less vomiting compared to 9 percent for placebo. For symptoms overall, 85 percent in the ginger group improved compared to 56 percent for placebo. As a result, doctors concluded that ginger is an effective herbal remedy for decreasing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

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