Cut back on Milk during Pregnancy can harm the Development of Baby
Pregnant women, who drink less than 250 ml of milk a day - or about a glass, deliver smaller babies than women who consume more, a Canadian study suggests. Researchers from McGill University of Quebec, Canada and the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada revealed in their collaborative study on Tuesday that women who limited their milk consumption - often from a fear it would make them fat - were putting their developing infants at harm. They believe it is the deficiency of vitamin D in milk that is leading to the slower growth in babies.
Partly funded by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the study was published on Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study included about 300 pregnant women aged 19 to 45 who were taking prenatal classes at three Calgary hospitals between 1997 and 1999.
Researchers found that the women who had low milk consumption delivered babies who weighed less at birth - comparatively to the babies’ whose mothers consumed more than 250 ml per day. Nearly one-third mums-to-be consumed drank less than 250 ml of milk a day and had a lower intake of vitamin D and protein, compared with women who drank varying amounts above that level.
The researchers said, "Our study showed that restricting milk or vitamin D intake during pregnancy lowered infant birth weight in otherwise healthy, non-smoking, well-educated mothers."
Scientists say that milk is fortified with vitamin D, which boosts bone and organ growth. It is made by the body through skin exposure to sunlight. Some foods, like ocean fish, contain vitamin D.
Medical expert Dr. Marla Shapiro said, "For every 215 milliliters of milk that you drink ... it correlates with an extra 41 grams of birth weight." Experts say underweight babies have higher rates of hypertension, obesity and diabetes as they age. They also believe vitamin D helps ward off some cancers.
According to the Director of McGill’s School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and also a principal investigator of the study, Kristine Koski, the studies show less than 15 percent of all Canadian women drink cow’s milk. It is noted by the medical experts that Canada’s population is known to be deficient in vitamin D.
Most of the adult females do not have the habit to drink the milk before they get pregnant and many say they have been advised by their doctors to avoid milk because of such concerns as food allergies and gastrointestinal upset due to lactose intolerance.
But their cut back on milk during pregnancy can harm their developing babies nearly as much as if they smoked.