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  • Bruce Larsen

The health of women during pregnancy determines the future health of her child, and there is evidence that her health affects the next generation as well.

Nationwide statistics that show nearly 80% of pregnant women, and virtually 100% of African American women, are vitamin D deficient.  Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a 30-50% increased risk of preterm birth, and also increases the risk of several other complications of pregnancy and health in the infant, including gestational diabetes, prenatal infections, preeclampsia, increased risk of cesarean section, low birth weight and more.

GrassrootsHealth, a 501c3 non-profit public health promotion organization, is offering FREE vitamin D blood spot testing for the first 100 pregnant women who enroll in the Protect our Children NOW! project (they must be 12-17 weeks gestation).  Free vitamin D supplements will also be provided to qualifying participants.  Additional vitamin D tests are to be completed by participants at 24 weeks and 36 weeks gestation. The participant will be expected to fill out an online health questionnaire at the time of each test and once after birth.

From the Save the Children Report, the US Ranks as the worst developed country for maternal health. In the US, more than 11% of all births (448,000 as of 2013) are preterm, i.e., born at less than 37 weeks gestation. With the Hollis/Wagner study, supplementation to get to the 40 ng/ml level was safe and, at 40 ng/ml, the risk of preterm birth had an overall reduction of approximately 50% (224,000 babies lives affected). That's a cost savings of $6 billion per year.

At present, a number of women who had preterm births with their prior pregnancy are being provided a weekly progesterone shot, '17P', to help reduce their probability of a second preterm birth. The effectiveness of this medicine is approximately 30%, the cost is $50,000 per pregnancy. The cost of vitamin D for a pregnancy is $15 and the expected effectiveness of reducing preterm births is 30-50%. At the very least, women should have vitamin D and testing during their pregnancy to get their serum levels to 40 ng/ml.

Are you pregnant?  Do you know any women who are/who would fit the 12-17 weeks gestation period time frame?  Vitamin D deficiency has long term effects on pregnancy health and the health of the child, from preterm birth to gestational diabetes, and from increased risk of infection in the newborn to growth and development problems in the child. We can't wait!  Please reach out to your pregnant friends, family, co-workers and community members. Send this to a birthing center, local hospital, OB/GYN community.

You can help create a nationwide action group to further lead the efforts to get this deficiency and, its solution, to the attention of the masses.  Using grassroots methodologies that have worked for in the past, GrassrootsHealth hopes to get the message to the masses, work with crowdfunding techniques to support the activities.

Please join or refer anyone you know who is pregnant to be part of this new public health project. Contact Jen Alaino, Project Manager, at [email protected] or (800) 324-8139 with questions or additional information.