Deficiency in Pregnancy

10:50 EDT 22 May 2013 | Anya de Iongh

The nine months during a pregnancy and the months that follow during breast-feeding can place a number of physical, physiological and metabolic demands on women. With our nutritional and chemical balances often being disturbed during a time when it is so important that they are adequately maintained, obstetric studies often look at deficiencies during pregnancy. The impact of these deficiencies is felt twice, for both the mother and unborn child can be affected.
The impact of iodine deficiency during pregnancy was recently explored in a study published in the Lancet. Iodine plays an important role in the development of the brain, and severe deficiency is the leading cause of preventable brain damage. Although the impact of mild iodine deficiency is now being felt, with research suggesting it can lower the IQ of children. This study was based in the UK, but the effects of deficiencies are being seen in populations across the world.
The World Journal of Pediatrics has published a study which has found that pregnant women in China frequently have vitamin D and calcium deficiencies. This has clear consequences for newborns, and pregnancy supplements were suggested in the study conclusions. Another study found that it was prevalent among African-American women and Hispanic women. The risk appeared to correlate with southern latitudes and primigravid women.  Vitamin D deficiency is clearly an important public health issue for many countries.
Anemia, or iron deficiency, is common among menstruating women, but a recent study in Pakistan suggests that the oxidative stress of pregnancy can exacerbate the prevalence of this particular deficiency. 


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