Vitamin B 12 could be the answer a mother-to-be needs to have a calm and relaxed baby in the first months of its life, feel researchers.
Babies do cry for no reason, and this can cause great anxiety in a new mother. But researchers report if women eat foods like steak, eggs, chicken that are high in vitamin B 12 during the first three months of pregnancy, their babies, when born, are less likely to cry and fret.
Researchers from Public Health Service in Netherlands, studied 3,000 pregnant women and the levels of the vitamin in their blood stream. When the babies were born and their crying was monitored, it was seen that the women who had had the lowest level of vitamin B 12, had babies who cried eight times more.
The researchers feel that this is the first study, reported in Early Human Development,
that links nutrition to infant crying behavior. They state that a lack of vitamin B12 could impede the development of nerve cells in the brain, increasing irritability in babies. It could also interrupt the natural sleep cycle of infants, because low levels meant the release of the sleep hormone melatonin was delayed.
Vegetarians and vegans are particularly vulnerable to vitamin B12 deficiency - a condition that leads to anaemia, tiredness, weight loss and constipation. Hence, pregnant women have been advised in the study to include in their diet red meat, chicken, dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals, along with liver and shellfish natural sources of the vitamin.
Nevertheless, experts stress the need for more research, since the foods that have been recommended are those which pregnant women are specifically advised to avoid.