Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that has an important role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, and it affects DNA synthesis and regulation as well as the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acid. In other words, our bodies need vitamin B12 to function properly.
However vitamin B12 deficiency can result from many factors such as poor diet, pernicious anemia (which makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamin B12), long-term use of antacids, and certain diseases (such as Crohn’s disease, Graves’ disease, lupus…etc).
If a pregnant woman doesn’t get the necessary vitamin B12, her body may not produce enough healthy red blood cells. In fact women who don’t eat enough meat, eggs, dairy products, and poultry, have a higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, which may contribute to birth defects (e.g. neural tube abnormalities), and could lead to preterm labor. Another factor that could lead to deficiency is that fact that pregnant women are advised to avoid liver, raw eggs, soft cheese, raw fish, and shell fish all rich sources of vitamin B12.
During pregnancy, a doctor can prescribe vitamin B12 supplementation to treat the deficiency, as well as to:
- Improve pregnancy accompanied low back pain [along with warming creams].
- Relief the tingling and numbness accompanying 3rd trimester edema (swelling caused by additional blood and fluid).
- Aid in treating gestational diabetes, since maternal vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with increased amount of body fat and, in turn, with insulin resistance.
Make sure to always eat a diet rich in vitamin B12, and consult your doctor about the longest acting vitamin B12 with a fast onset of action.