Relationship between vitamin B-6 supplementation in pregnancy and lactation and infant weight gain during the first six weeks of life

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Fossum, Joan E.
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Thesis (M.A.)
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The committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a strong statement recommending that all mothers, who are able, should breast feed their infants (1978). This renewed interest in human milk feeding was based upon increased knowledge of the nutritional and immunological contributions of this milk to infant development.In association with this awareness of human milk contributions to infant development, there has been an increased interest in the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women (West and Kirksey, 1976). The work of Roepke and Kirksey (1979) indicated that most pregnant women do not obtain the recommended amounts of vitamin B-6 from dietary sources, but have intakes which are about one half of the 1974 Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 2.5mg/day. In addition, work by Roepke and Kirksey (1979-B) suggests that long term use of oral contraceptives (OCA) previous to conception may compromise the level of vitamin B-6 in human milk. The work of West and Kirksey (1976) suggested that supplements of vitamin. E-6 may be beneficial to some women, as the level of the vitamin was increased in the milk of women whose diets were supplemented with this vitamin. L.B. Greentree (1979) expressed concern that the use of vitamin supplements which include vitamin B-6 may have an anti-lactogenic effect and contribute to lactation failure. In a study being conducted by Roepke and Kirksey, diets of pregnant and lactating women are being supplemented with levels of vitamin B-6 ranging from 2.5mg/day to 20mg/day to determine the amount needed to normalize the levels of the vitamin in certain biological fluids of previous long term users of oral contraceptives.The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether vitamin B-6 supplementation interferes with lactation as measured by the correlation of the level of vitamin B-6 supplementation with the average weight gain per week of the infants, percentile of infant's birth weight, and the percentile for weight at four to six weeks of age. Data was collected to determine the relationship between the Apgar scores at birth and average weight gains of the infants. In addition information was collected to assess the relationship between average gains for infants of mothers who previously used OCA for longer than thirty months compared with infants of mothers who were nonusers of OCA.