More than 90 percent of women trying to conceive are deficient in essential nutrients

Photo: Jacques Alexandre / Alexandre Jacques / Profimedia

Recent research shows that more than 90 percent of women trying to conceive are deficient in the essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. This statistic is likely to worsen as the vegetarian diet increases in popularity among women.

Tests in the UK, Singapore and New Zealand of more than 1.700 women who were planning to become pregnant found that most of them lacked nutrients, which are abundant in meat and dairy products, and are key to healthy fetal development. , reports "Guardian".

The epidemiologist Keith Godfrey, who is also the study's lead author, said he and his colleagues at the University of Southampton were surprised by "how marginal or low the status of these micronutrients is."

"If you're not following a really high-quality diet, then you should consider taking certain nutritional supplements," advised Prof. Godfrey.

The women, aged 18 to 38, were recruited from "Nipper Steady", an international trial investigating whether combinations of nutrients and supplements, before and during pregnancy, can improve the health of mothers and their babies.

The Guardian reports that before conception, nine out of ten women had marginal or low levels of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or vitamin D, while many showed signs of vitamin B6 deficiency late in pregnancy. As expected, the supplements improved the vitamin levels in those women, although not always to the required level.

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