Around one in six pregnancies results in spontaneous abortion. Although there can be different reasons for this, scientists have found that eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, eggs, and grains can lower the risk by over 50 percent. This was shown in a meta-analysis from the University of Birmingham in England. Earlier research shows that selenium, a trace element that many people are deficient in, plays a particularly important role.
The need for the trace element selenium is increased in pregnant and breastfeeding women because it supports a host of different proteins that are particularly important for tissue growth. Also, selenium supports different antioxidants that protect the unborn baby’s organs and tissues. A new review article published in Nutrients shows that lack of selenium during pregnancy may result in oxidative stress, stunted growth, and low birth weight. This may eventually have consequences for the baby’s development, cognitive skills, and health in general. The authors also mention that an expecting mother’s alcohol abuse may have a more negative health impact if she is selenium-deficient. It is a problem that selenium deficiency is such a widespread problem in Europe and other parts of the world.
A team of scientists from Oregon State University in the United States has managed to explain why lack of vitamin E may cause neurological damage to the developing fetus, and why it increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriage. Their study is published in the science journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine and here, the scientists underline how important it is for both women who are pregnant and those plan pregnancy to get enough vitamin E.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect on a global scale. The condition is associated with a number of different complications and even comes with an increased risk of infant death. Maternal nutritional status is vital for the development of the fetus, and a team of Chinese scientists has looked closer at how selenium, zinc, and copper affect the development of the disease. They found that a relatively high intake of selenium and zinc lowers the risk of congenital heart defects. Therefore, the scientists call for increased focus on these two minerals during pregnancy and advocate the use of supplements.
- and do not have a clue
Global heating and the whole climate debate have greatly increased the number of vegans and vegetarians. Their intensions may be good, but what they do not know is that their lifestyle can lead to serious health problems. A Spanish study of vegetarians and vegans has shown that 11% of the study participants had subclinical or clinical vitamin B12 deficiency. Earlier studies supporting this finding. Because the problem is insidious, it is often difficult to see the link between the deficiency and the symptoms caused by anemia or disturbances in the nervous system. The lack of vitamin B12 may also increase the risk of impaired fertility and development disturbances in the fetus. It is therefore a good idea for vegans and vegetarians to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
During pregnancy, the unborn child needs different nutrients for proper development of its brain and nervous system. Even if the mother eats a balanced diet, it can be difficult to get enough selenium for a number of reasons. In a new Italian animal study that is published in Nutrients, scientists have looked closer at selenium’s role during pregnancy and lactation. They observed that even minor selenium deficiencies can have a negative effect on the offspring’s brain development and behavior. This study supports earlier human studies showing how vital it is for the mother to get plenty of selenium during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Folic acid is of vital importance to fetal development which is why pregnant women have a much higher need for this nutrient. Although the Danish health authorities recommend that pregnant take folic acid supplements, some get started too late and others forget to take their supplements. In other countries, it is common practice to enrich flour with folic acid but apparently, the added quantity is insufficient. According to a new British study, many pregnant women still don’t get enough folic acid, which increases their risk of giving birth to a baby with neural tube defects that can lead to severe disabilities. Lack of folic acid can also affect the child’s mental development. The British researchers therefore recommend adding more folic acid to fluor as a way of preventing the birth defects. It’s simple and inexpensive and would also be relevant for Denmark.
- and these compounds increase the need for iodine
We humans are exposed to a host of toxic fluoride compounds from food packaging, cookie sheets, rain clothes, impregnation agents, tap water, toothpaste etc. Effective July 1., 2020, cardboard, parchment paper, and cookie sheets that contain fluoride compounds are banned in Denmark. Fluoride poisoning increases the risk of various thyroid disorders, breast cancer, kidney diseases, ADHD, and fetal damage. At the same time, it increases the need for iodine. In fact, the symptoms of fluoride poisoning are often the same as the those seen with iodine deficiency. Read more about how to avoid fluoride compounds in the environment and how to make sure to get enough iodine.
Zinc is involved in numerous enzyme processes and proteins that are of importance to fertility and pregnancy. The nutrient also plays a role in fetal brain development and the child’s health later in life, according to a review article that is published in the scientific journal, Nutrients. The authors address the fact that zinc deficiencies are rather common and account for around 20 per cent of infant deaths, typically around the time of birth. It is therefore important to get plenty of zinc throughout life – especially for women before, during, and after pregnancy and while they breastfeed.