Vitamin status in pregnancy and newborns

Emily C. Keats, Rehana A. Salam, Kimberly D. Charbonneau, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Vitamins play an essential role in supporting physiological processes throughout the life course, but are especially important during pregnancy and for adequate infant growth and development. Deficiencies during these key periods can cause or contribute to devastating effects including maternal death, poor birth outcomes such as intrauterine growth restriction and low birthweight, and increased risk of infections and child stunting. Maternal vitamin deficiencies are common where diets are not diverse enough to meet nutritional needs or where recurrent infections/chronic conditions inhibit proper absorption, two situations that are common in low and middle-income countries. If maternal vitamin status is insufficient, then newborns will not be able to acquire in utero the vitamin stores that they need for their first few months of life, making maternal nutrition exceptionally important for both mother and baby. This chapter explores the role of vitamins in both pregnancy and in newborns. It considers sources of vitamins, including from the diet, breastmilk and formula, the global burden and consequences of vitamin deficiencies, and strategies for preventing and managing these deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMolecular Nutrition
Subtitle of host publicationMother and Infant
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780128138625
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Breast milk
  • Interventions
  • Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • RDA
  • RNI
  • Vitamins


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