Pregnancy And Maternal Health: A Year In Research

Every year, scientific research brings new findings to the fore, fueling discussions and debates. We wanted to start the new year by sharing the most significant news in the pregnancy and childbirth space, in the year gone by. In no particular order, here they are:


  1. Iron Supplements- To Take Or Not To Take: Debate around supplements during pregnancy is a never-ending one, or so it would seem. Iron is one nutrient that, in excess, can cause oxidative stress and pancreatic damage. Some research even links iron uptake to gestational diabetes. However, as the last word (so far) on the subject, recent study claims that iron obtained from plant sources and supplements is relatively harmless as compared to iron from animal sources.[1]
  2. The Zika Vaccine: Zika is a pandemic caused by the Zika virus that is spreading fast around the world with mosquitoes as vectors. The Zika virus is known to cause severe congenital disabilities in children born to infected women. Therefore, it comes as a relief that efforts are on towards vaccines that can prevent birth defects in infants as a result of their mother’s infection with the Zika virus.[2][3]
  3. One Vitamin to Prevent Miscarriages: There are often several reasons why a miscarriage occurs, and it is not always possible to prevent this outcome especially in the first trimester. However, supplementation with Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has shown to reduce the probability of miscarriage significantly.[4]
  4. High-Fat, Low-Tolerance: We are what we eat, and what you eat during pregnancy is who your child will be. While we broadly recognize the role of proper nutrition, it is essential also to know what happens when we don’t follow through. A high-fat diet during pregnancy could cause anxiety and depression in the offspring’s later life. It is being observed that excess fat in the diet impairs the development of the brain and nerves.[5]


So, plenty of new research is underway in understanding the science of pregnancy. Indeed, it may just be a matter of time before the remaining mysteries of pregnancy unfold right before our eyes.


What is the one pregnancy-related scientific finding that would put you at greater ease? Write to us at!




  1. Zhang, Cuilin, and Shristi Rawal. “Dietary iron intake, iron status, and gestational ” The American journal of clinical nutrition106, no. Supplement 6 (2017): 1672S-1680S.
  2. Dyer, Owen. “Zika vaccine could be in production by year’s end, says maker.” (2016): i630.
  3. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Website
  4. Ahmed, Tasfia, Miesha Roberts MacDonald, Bénédicte Fontaine-Bisson, and Shannon Bainbridge. “Effects of Niacin Supplementation on Placental Stress Response.” Placenta34, no. 9 (2013): A36-A37.
  5. Sullivan, Elinor L., Bernadette Grayson, Diana Takahashi, Nicola Robertson, Adriane Maier, Cynthia L. Bethea, M. Susan Smith, Kristine Coleman, and Kevin L. Grove. “Chronic consumption of a high-fat diet during pregnancy causes perturbations in the serotonergic system and increased anxiety-like behavior in nonhuman primate offspring.” Journal of Neuroscience30, no. 10 (2010): 3826-3830.
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