Women who spurn milk during pregnancy to avoid gaining weight tend to have lighter babies, researches here reported.
In fact, both milk consumption and vitamin D intake were significant predictors of birth weight, said Kristine G. Koski, Ph.D., director of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University here.
The findings suggested that most pregnant women should not avoid milk in an attempt to prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy or food allergies in their children, Dr. Koski and colleagues said online today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study followed 72 pregnant women who reported drinking one cup or less per day of milk. The investigators compared pregnancy outcomes in these women with about 200 pregnant women who reported consuming more than one cup of milk per day. One cup of milk provides half of the currently proposed adequate vitamin D intake for adults.
All women underwent a series of telephone interviews to assess dietary patterns, and vitamin D and other nutrient intake was estimated based on the information gathered, reports MedPage Today.
Milk is fortified with vitamin D, which promotes bone and organ growth, scientists say.
"For every 215 millilitres of milk that you drink ... it correlates with an extra 41 grams of birth weight," medical expert Dr. Marla Shapiro said.
The study's principal investigator, Kristine Koski, director of McGill's School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, said studies show less than 15 percent of all Canadian women drink cow's milk.
Medical experts say smaller babies have higher rates of hypertension, obesity and diabetes as they age. They also believe vitamin D helps ward off some cancers.
Vitamin D is made by the body through skin exposure to sunlight. Some foods, such as ocean fish, contain vitamin D, informs Xinhua.
According to Scotsman, the report, whose authors included Dr Kristine Koski, the director of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University in Canada, 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."
It went on: "This is an important finding because increasing numbers of women are restricting milk consumption during pregnancy, believing that it will lower fat intake, minimise weight gain, treat self-diagnosed lactose intolerance, or prevent their children from developing allergies.
"Mothers and health professionals need to understand that this dietary practice may restrict essential nutrients and negatively affect foetal development."O.Ch.
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