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Vitamin D supplements for pregnant women could also improve the bone health of their unborn children, according to researchers at the Southampton General Hospital, England. A study of 9-year-old children of mothers who took vitamin D supplements during pregnancy showed that the children had larger bones and greater whole-body mineral concentrations than the children of mothers who did not take the supplements. The results of the study were published in the January 7, 2006, edition of the Lancet.
The study followed 198 children born in 1991-1992 and assessed the body build, nutrition, and vitamin D supplementation of the mothers during pregnancy. About 9 years after birth, the researchers measured the children?s whole-body and lumbar spine bone-mineral content, bone area, and bone-mineral density. They found that 49 mothers had insufficient levels of vitamin D, and 28 were vitamin D?deficient. These conditions were associated with reduced whole-body bone-mineral content in their children. Only 30 women in the study took vitamin D supplements, and their children had significantly greater whole-body bone-mineral concentrations and bone areas.