A Possible Link Between Maternal Diet During Pregnancy and Colic?
A recent study conducted by the Public Health Service in the Netherlands, suggests that there may be a correlation between low levels of B12 during the first three months of pregnancy and colic in babies.
Tests were carried out on almost 3,000 women to establish the level of vitamin B12 in their blood at 12 weeks gestation. Scientists also took into account factors such as age, socio-economics, education, and smoking habits. Interestingly, researchers found that those with the lowest levels of B12 were eight times more likely to report having an unsettled child that cried for prolonged periods of three or more hours a day.
What does vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12 has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system, and in the formation of blood. It has also been shown to prevent dementia, heart disease and fertility issues.
Researchers believe that the lack of B12 in a mother’s diet during early pregnancy may impact on how much myelin is produced in the baby’s brain. Myelin is a supportive tissue which surrounds and protects the nerve cells. Their theory is that less myelin can cause more irritability.
Low levels of B12 can also prevent the release of the hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is the body’s sleep hormone, so it is easy to see how a lack of it can cause interrupted sleep cycles in infants.
Where to find B12
Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria, and is only found naturally in animal products.
Foods which are naturally high in vitamin B12 are:
· Red meat
· Dairy products, e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt etc
Other excellent sources of B12 are soft cheese, liver and shellfish, although women are advised not to consume these foods whilst pregnant.
So, it would appear that the message researchers are giving us, is that boosting our vitamin B12 during early pregnancy may decrease our likelihood of having a colicky baby.
Colic can be very distressing for parents, not to mention exhausting, for all involved. Do you have experience with a colicky baby? What did you find worked best for you and your child?