According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, a daily multivitamin during pregnancy may boost the birth weight of newborns.
Over 8,400 pregnant women at 12 to 27 weeks of gestation were randomly assigned to receive a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo from the time of enrollment to six weeks after birth.
The supplements included vitamin B1 (20 mg), B2 (20 mg), B6 (25 mg), B12 (50 micrograms), niacin (100 mg), vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (30 mg), and folic acid (0.8 mg).
Researchers found that at the end of the study, the daily supplement significantly reduced the risk of low birth weight by 18 percent.
Low birth weight has been linked to higher risks of negative health outcomes, including poor growth and cognitive development, and higher risks of chronic diseases later in life, including diabetes and heart disease.
While further studies are needed before specific recommendations can be made to pregnant women, the findings are important since 20 million children worldwide are born with a low birth weight, defined as less than 5.5 pounds.
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