A STUDY of 35 PREPARED PREGNANCIES                                                        (Edited 9/14/03, Updated July 2011)



Maternal under-nutrition brings about modifications involving DNA, leading to metabolic disorders at the adult age, according to new research.
The study, published in The FASEB Journal, reports to demonstrate for the first time, that environmental influences, such as maternal nutritional stress, could induce deleterious metabolic symptoms that last for the entire life of individuals, and implying that epigenetic modifications play an important role in this process.

About one out of every 733 children born in the United States has Down Syndrome.

- 50 years ago Down syndrome (DS) was considered a disease almost exclusively of children born from mothers 40 years or older. Today 80% of children with DS are born to women under the age of 35 . What causes this shift? What has changed dramatically over the last 50 years? Our food has become increasingly deprived on minerals and vitamins.

Several publications link DS to mineral and vitamin deficiency in the mother. A good reason to prepare your pregnancy well in advance by taking supplements of minerals and vitamins.


Maternal micronutrient supplements boost baby weights

- "Supplements of micronutrients during pregnancy may result in bigger and heavier babies, relative to babies born to mothers taking only iron and folic acid" suggests a new study.

The research, published recently in the journal "The Lancet", is of particular importance since an estimated 20 million children worldwide are born with low birth weight, defined as less than 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds), with over 95 percent of these in developing countries."

From:Nutra ingredients.com/Europe

It is indeed of very particular importance.

It is, however, nothing new. It has been described previously. Hereunder see a summary of the original research.


The following text is a summary of the lecture:

"Low Body Temperature, Prematurity and Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation"

presented in 1984 by Edmund Devroey MD

at the 8th International Congress of Perinatalogy.

Page Map
Treated and Untreated Pregnancies
Other Publications


Infant mortality has dramatically regressed over the last years.
Meanwhile, prematurity is on the rise.
A negative correlation is documented between prematurity and family income, between prematurity and education level. There is a documented positive correlation between prematurity and anemia, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, infectious disease, genital infection, uterine abnormalities, premature rupture of membranes, and twin pregnancy.

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I was educated as an OB-GYN. and practiced this specialty for 30 years in Antwerp, Belgium.

While monitoring pregnancies and delivering babies, I was asking myself. if there could be a link between the nutritional condition of the mother and the term of her pregnancy, more precisely if nutritional deficiencies before and during pregnancy could be added to the factors with a positive correlation to prematurity.
Since most women in my practice were taking supplements during their pregnancy and that some of them still had premature babies, I was particularly interested in finding out if supplementing before pregnancy would help reduce the occurrence of prematurity.
It was impossible to ask volunteers to take supplements during a certain period of time and then -- just then -- to start a pregnancy.
Very fortunately, there was a way around this. I had for years been adding minerals and vitamins to my prescriptions for all kinds of health conditions, ranging from fatigue and depression to amenorrhea, PMS, and sterility.
Some of the patients following these prescriptions happened to become pregnant during their treatment. All I had to do was to ask them to stick to the treatment during the pregnancy.

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In the following charts the horizontal line indicates the duration of the pregnancies expressed in weeks. The vertical line indicates the weight of the babies in pounds.

35 Treated and 35 Untreated Pregnancies

The chart of figure 1 indicates the outcome of 35 pregnancies in women that were taking minerals and vitamin supplements during a period of time of at least three months before becoming pregnant.

Figure 1: Thirty one deliveries occurred after 40 weeks of pregnancy and 4 after 39 weeks. No premature babies. Two babies are underweight.

The chart inf figure 2 indicates the outcome of 35 pregnancies in women that were not taking minerals and vitamin supplements before becoming pregnant.

Figure 2: In contrast to the first group, in the control group there are 4 deliveries after 39 weeks, 5 after 38 weeks, 1 after 34 weeks, and 3 after 41 weeks. Five babies are underweight.

The Selection of the Control Group

A few words about the selection of the control group.
For the control group, I selected the files of each patient giving birth immediately after the delivery of a patient from the first group.
Most if not all the patients of the control group had been taking supplements during their pregnancy. It is important to notice that they had started to take supplements only after knowing they were pregnant and did not take supplement before, in contrast to the patients of the first group.

More Interesting Information

More interesting is the fact that in the group of the 35 prepared pregnancies, there were 19 women that already had children. Together the 19 mothers had 24 children born from a previous unprepared pregnancy.
The chart in figure 3 indicates the outcome of their 19 prepared pregnancies, chart in figure 4 the outcome of the 24 unprepared previous pregnancies, from the same mothers.

Figure 3: 16 deliveries occurred after 40 weeks of pregnancy, and 3 deliveries after 39 weeks. The vertical line indicates the weight in pounds of the babies at birth. There are no premature nor underweight newborns.

Figure 4: Three deliveries occurred after 41 weeks of pregnancy, 13 after 40 weeks, 3 after 39 weeks, and 5 after 38 weeks.
There are 3 underweight newborns.

NOTE: I have to add that all the 19 mothers that had children of previous unprepared pregnancies, have noticed that their last baby -- the one from the prepared pregnancy -- was in better condition than their sibling or siblings.

Babies from well prepared pregnancies

are easier to handle.

They eat better,

sleep better,

and have less health problems.

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Publications on the Topic

Older Publications
The above results were the subject of a publication at the 8th International Congress of Perinatalogy held in Aachen, Germany, in 1984.
At that time, there were only two publications in the medical literature to strengthen the hypothesis of a link between the nutritional condition of the mother before and during pregnancy and prematurity.
One paper published by Deckers in 1977 describes thyroid hormone deficiency in premature babies and a paper published by Blumenthal in 1980 assumes that premature babies present a copper deficiency.
165 other papers about prematurity published around that same period of time only focuses on the diseases occurring in premature infants with no indication of any deficiency.

More Recent Publications
At the time of the first edition of this page there were more publications describing deficiencies in premature babies.
Deficiency in Iodine (Rooman, 1996) (Krassas, 2000) , Iron (Yeo, 2001) (Bader, 2001), vit B12 and folate (Rosenblatt, 1999), selenium (Winterbourn, 2000), magnesium (Villar 1998), copper (Beshgetoor, 1998), and calcium (Bakstroom, 2000), in premature newborn is the subject of recently published papers.

Today In The News

Today we have two large studies, both published in the Lancet confirming the initial lecture more than 25 years ago of the usefulness of supplements, minerals and vitamins to avoid prematurity and intra-uterine growth retardation.

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   Copyright © 2003-2011 Eemond Devroey MD                                                                           Edited:September 14, 2003. Updated: July,5, 2911                 

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