Every day in North America, more than 1,000 babies are born prematurely. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of babies who die the day they are born in the industrialized world according to Save The Children, which reports that 130 countries have lower preterm birth rates than the U.S. Further, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports no sign of improvement of infant mortality, and reports women of Asian ethnic origin showing the lowest rates of preterm births, at 8.6%, while African-American women experience the highest rates, at 13.75% of all births.
Recently published research conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina in partnership with GrassrootsHealth, shows pregnant women who maintain vitamin D levels of 40-60 ng/ml, experience a reduction in preterm births by up to 60%. Out of the 1,000 pregnant women studied, 90% were deficient in vitamin D. During the study, researchers did not find a single complication related to pregnant women taking vitamin D.
“Vitamin D is inexpensive and has been shown to be safe at the recommended level,” said Carole Baggerly, director of GrassrootsHealth and co-author of the paper. “We have several medical centers ready to implement a new standard of care with our vitamin D ‘Protect Our Children NOW’ campaign.”
The March of Dimes estimates that the annual cost of preterm births in the U.S. is $12 billion, for 455,918 children. States with the highest preterm births include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C. States where 10% or more of women received late prenatal care or no prenatal care include: Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Vermont.
“If 50% of preterm births could be prevented each year in the United States, there could be nearly $6 billion available for other health services and more than 225,000 families would be spared this trauma,” said Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of Organic & Natural Health. “MUSC changed its standard of care for its pregnant patients and is now monitoring vitamin D levels based on their research. We are confident that members of Congress, their constituents, health insurers, and employers will see the value in this health claim related to vitamin D levels and a reduced risk of preterm births.”
Organic & Natural Health will take a select team to Capitol Hill to share this message on its April 12 Hill Day, meeting with key legislators and staff, and presenting the research at an informational luncheon.