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SELENIUM'S ROLE

IN MATERNAL HEALTH

Selenium's Role During Pregnancy and After Birth

Selenium is important for both mother and baby after the birth, and especially during lactation. Studies have found a correlation between selenium in human milk and maternal selenium intake has been reviewed in populations around the world which suggests that infants fed with human milk have higher selenium intake than those fed with commercial infant formulas or baby foods.

One study suggests that selenium compounds found in breast milk seem to be more biologically available for infants than those in formulas. Further boosting the strong case for selenium’s value for infants, the FDA in 2015 mandated that selenium be included in all infant formulas by 2017.

 

The risk of two important adverse outcomes of pregnancy — Preterm Birth and Preeclampsia — are showing to be selenium responsive. Pregnancy is a dynamic process characterized by an apparent increase in maternal utilization of selenium. Without supplementation, blood levels of selenium progressively decline during pregnancy and lactation. Inadequate selenium status in infants may enhance their vulnerability to adverse health outcomes, including bacterial infection (sepsis), impaired neurological development, and autism.

While this burden for pregnant women is intense, there is also more information and resources to help than ever before. Scientific insights have ushered in a new era in which women are increasingly empowered to take control of their health and use measure to produce the best outcomes for their pregnancy as well as a lifetime of health for their child.

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