Three Vitamins That Could Save Your Baby's Life at iVillage

In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) took action by recommending that all breastfed infants, and all other children that drink less than a gallon of formula or milk per week, get daily vitamin D supplements. Unfortunately, some interpreted this policy as a criticism of breast-feeding. For example, La Leche League issued an ominous press release indicating vitamin D supplements could cause "harmful alterations of the infant gut or increased risk of infection." Perhaps as a result of these kinds of unsubstantiated worries, the journal Pediatrics reported that only half of physicians were recommending daily vitamin D for breast-feeding infants by 2004.

The first key lesson: According to the AAP, breastfed infants—especially those of color—should get daily vitamin D drops to prevent serious conditions like seizures or rickets.

2) Folic Acid

As someone involved in the care of women with high-risk pregnancies, I've seen many heartbreaking birth defects in developing fetuses which involve the nervous system or the heart. Technically, these conditions are called "neural tube defects" and "conotruncal cardiac defects," and the saddest thing is that many are preventable with prenatal vitamins, which are full of folic acid. When taken properly, prenatal vitamins stop up to 85 percent of neural tube defects and 50 percent of certain heart defects.

While most woman know about these vitamins, they don't know that prenatal vitamins are most effective if taken before becoming pregnant.

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