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Many Nurses Lack Knowledge of Health Risks for New Mothers, Study Finds

With tens of thousands of new mothers in the U.S. nearly dying from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes every year, and up to 900 actually dying, health officials are scrambling to find ways to slash these sobering numbers. What’s shocking is that 46 percent of postpartum nurses surveyed didn’t even know that the U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. ProPublica reports that many nurses lack the knowledge needed to inform new moms about life-threatening complications.\

The U.S. is one of only 13 countries that had maternal mortality rates worsen over the past 25 years, and the maternal mortality rates in the US is double that of Canada — and higher than those in 33 other nations. As such, maternal and infant mortality rates in the U.S. are an embarrassment considering the high cost of health care and the quality of intensive medical care available.

Causes for the rates of mortality may be closely related to the rising obesity epidemic that fuels other chronic health conditions responsible for maternal death and preterm birth, but vaccinations during pregnancy may also be increasing your child’s risk of preterm birth, low birth weight and neurological consequences. Interestingly, other research shows that simply raising the vitamin D levels in pregnant women, and subsequently their babies, may be one way of improving these dreadful mortality rates.

To that end, optimizing vitamin D during pregnancy is so simple and inexpensive, and the benefits are so dramatic, it's really a no-brainer. In fact, a two-year-long community project implemented at the Medical University of South Carolina confirms 40 to 60 percent of preterm births are prevented by raising pregnant women’s vitamin D to a level of 40 ng/mL. Vitamin D optimization also reduces the mother’s risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prenatal infections by approximately 50 percent.
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