Vitamin C and Pregnancy - Help For Smoking Moms by Rebecca Prescott
Whilst most women are aware of the negative effects smoking
whilst pregnant can have on their developing baby, many still cannot give
up. The good news is that researchers believe that taking vitamin C can
counteract some of these effects.
Smoking during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery
of the baby, poor growth, and in some instances, is implicated in fetal
deaths. It can also affect the way the infant's lungs develop, as nicotine
can cross the placenta. As a result, babies may have less lung function
and develop more respiratory illnesses.
But a group of researchers at the Oregon Health &
Science University found that in baby monkeys given both nicotine and vitamin
C, the flow of air in the lungs was close to normal. There were three groups
of pregnant monkeys in the study - one group was given only nicotine, one
given neither nicotine nor vitamin C, and one group given both. The nicotine
given was comparable to that which a pregnant mother would smoke. The group
given nothing acted as the control group.
Whilst this study was done on monkeys, the team behind
the study believe that the results are very relevant to humans. But more
work needs to be done to determine how much vitamin C is needed for smoking
pregnant mothers to get similar benefits. And to ensure that higher amounts
of vitamin C during pregnancy doesn't cause other unwanted effects.
The researchers did stress that despite the positive benefits
of vitamin C during pregnancy, it did not counteract all of smoking's negative
effects on the fetus. For example, lower body weight and nicotine's effect
on brain development were still a potential issue.
Another benefit of taking vitamin C during pregnancy is
that it may decrease the chance of their waters breaking too early. This
is true for all women irrespective of whether they are smokers or not.
This research was done by a team in Mexico at the National Institute of
Perinatology, this time on humans. The women in this study were either
given a placebo or 100mg of vitamin C per day. And the group who received
the vitamin C had a lot less instances where their waters broke early.
This meant less premature births with the associated risk of infections.
The women in the study received the vitamin C from the
20th week of pregnancy until they gave birth. Vitamin C helps maintain
the collagen in the membranes that hold the amniotic fluid in place.
About the Author
If you'd like to learn more about supplemental
vitamin C, including the different forms this supplement is available
in, check out this article. And this for
herb pregnancy advice on which herbs to avoid and which can reduce
the effects of morning sickness