Low milk intake during pregnancy linked to low birth weights

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New research shows that pregnant women who rarely drank milk during pregnancy gave birth to lower birth weight babies. 

In the study, Canadian researchers followed 279 women throughout their pregnancy. They found that women who limited their intake of milk to one cup or less per day consumed significantly less protein and vitamin D, and they gave birth to babies that weighed less compared to women who drank more milk.

Milk consumption and vitamin D intake from fortified milk and supplements during pregnancy were found to each be associated with infant birth weights, independently of other risk factors. Analysis of the data predicted that each cup of milk consumed daily was associated with a 41 gram increase in a baby's birth weight.

The researchers believe vitamin D may not only affect an infant's skeletal formation, but also neurodevelopment, immune function and chronic disease susceptibility later in life. Previous research has suggested that milk intake may help reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Low birth weight affects one out of every 13 babies born each year in the United States, and it's a factor in 65 percent of infant deaths, according to the March of Dimes. This new study suggests that drinking the recommended amount of milk each day — three 8-ounce glasses — may help increase birth weight.

The study was published in the latest edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. You can find it online at: http://www.cmaj.ca

Milk Processor Education Program via PRNewswire

 

 



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