can be more heart-wrenching to a mother and father than watching
their newborn child from the confines of an incubator. Low-birth-weight
infants can suffer from chronic lung disease, intracranial
hemorrhaging, infections and numerous other complications
that make their first few days a literal struggle for life.
A study of 807 extremely low-birth-weight infants (weighing
less than 2 1/2 pounds and requiring respiratory support within
24 hours of birth) assessed the potential for vitamin A to
improve their chances for survival. Infants were divided into
an intervention group and a control group, with the former
group receiving intramuscular injections of vitamin A (5,000
IU) three days a week for four weeks.
By 36 weeks, the overall incidence of complications, namely
chronic lung disease or death, was significantly lower in
the vitamin A group (55%) compared with the control group
(62%). The most pointed observation was that one additional
infant survived without chronic lung disease for every 14-15
infants who received vitamin A supplementation.
If youıre expecting a child, consult your team of health
care professionals regularly to ensure that your pregnancy
and childbirth go as smoothly as possible. Following appropriate
nutritional and exercise guidelines can help keep you and
your newborn healthy and happy.
Tyson JE, Wright LL, Oh W, et al. Vitamin A supplementation
for extremely low birth weight infants. The New England
Journal of Medicine, June 24, 1999: Vol. 340, No. 25,
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