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Are you a pregnant women? Women who supplement their diet with a small amount of vitamin C during the second half of pregnancy reduce their risk of one contributor to premature birth, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The following gives you a basic idea of why vitamin C is important during pregnancy.
The last months of pregnancy and the beginning of the birth process is marked by rupture of the walls (membranes) of the amniotic sac that holds the growing fetus and contains the amniotic fluid.
A healthy pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks and a “Premature birth” occurs when the membranes rupture and birth begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Smoking, vaginal infection, and poor maternal nutrition can all increase the risk of premature rupture of the membranes (PROM).
PROM occurs in 10 to 20% of pregnancies worldwide and is the most common cause of premature births. Babies born prematurely face many health risks: their underdeveloped lungs do not function properly, they are highly susceptible to infections, and they have difficulty nursing.
You can understand why is it vitally important do all you can to enhance the health of mom and baby in 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.
The Role of Vitamin C:
Studies have suggested that inadequate levels of vitamin C in the cells of pregnant women might be linked to increased PROM risk. Vitamin C, an antioxidant nutrient found in fruits and vegetables, plays an important role in the production and repair of connective tissues throughout the body and is believed to be critical to the maintenance of the fetal amniotic sac membranes.
In one study, women with high dietary intake of vitamin C were less likely to experience PROM than women with low intake. The effect of vitamin C supplementation on the risk of PROM has not been previously studied.
In the current study, 120 healthy women who were less than 20 weeks pregnant were randomly assigned to receive either 100 mg of vitamin C per day or placebo. Each woman was evaluated upon entry to the study and every four weeks from week 20 of their pregnancy until delivery.
During this study, PROM incidence was 74% lower in the women taking vitamin C than in the women receiving placebo (7.69% versus 24.5%). The incidence of premature births was also lower in the vitamin C group than in the placebo group (13.4% versus 24%); however, this 44% reduction in risk was not statistically significant because of the small number of people studied.
The results of this study suggest that supplementing with vitamin C can reduce the risk of PROM. Since PROM is involved in more than 40% of all premature births, it is possible that small amounts of supplemental vitamin C might help prevent premature births. A larger study is needed to determine this more definitively.
That being said, ALWAYS consult your physician before taking any kind of supplements and over the counter type medications, etc.
There are natural ways to enhance vitamin C through diet but always consult with your doctor first as your situation is unique to you.
What ways are you increasing Vitamin C in your diet (pregnant or not)? For example, I can’t do the sugar in most juices so I supplement, or I eat the occasional tangerine, etc.
Contact me with any questions and be sure to leave us a comment below.