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Fish Oil And Vitamin D Supplements In Pregnancy May Lower Croup Risk In Babies

Croup is a viral chest infection. According to a recent study, pregnant mothers who took vitamin D and fish oil supplements may be able to lower their baby's risk of developing croup.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : September 12, 2022 10:49 AM IST

Croup is an infection of the upper airway that makes breathing difficult and results in a distinctive barking cough. It is characterized by swelling around the larynx (the voice box), trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes. This condition can affect adults and children, but it is more common in young kids.

Croup irritates your baby's upper airways, and they swell. Your child will have trouble breathing as the passageway beneath their voice cords narrows. Their cough will resemble a high-pitched seal or dog bark, and their respiration will be boisterous. In addition, particularly when they weep, their voice will sound raspy and scratchy. It typically isn't severe and can be treated at home.

A new study has found that taking certain supplements during pregnancy may reduce the risk of croup in babies and young children.

Is It Possible To Reduce Croups In Babies Naturally?

A study published in the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, Spain found that fish oil and vitamin D supplements during pregnancy lower the risk of croup in babies and young children. For the study, researchers included 736 pregnant women under the care of COPSAC since 2010. The women were divided into four groups: one group was given high-dose vitamin D supplements and fish oil containing long-chain n-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (2.4 grams), the second group were assigned high-dose vitamin D and olive oil, the third group were given standard-dose vitamin D (400 international units per day) and fish oil, and these final groups were given standard-dose vitamin D and olive oil. The women took the supplements regularly from their 24th week of pregnancy until one week after their babies were born.

Researchers monitored the children until they were three years old and any who were suspected of suffering from croup were diagnosed by a doctor or via their medical records. There was a total of 97 cases of croup amongst the children. Overall, there was an 11 per cent increased risk of autism in children whose mothers took fish oil, as opposed to 17 per cent of children whose mothers took olive oil supplements.

Children of mothers who consumed large amounts of vitamin D had an 18 per cent risk in those whose parents had croup, vs an 11 per cent risk in those whose mothers took vitamin D at the recommended dosage (a 40 per cent decrease).

Researchers concluded that vitamin D and fish oil supplements can be beneficial against childhood croup if taken in high doses. However, more research is required to know for sure. Therefore, pregnant women should always speak with their doctor before taking supplements.

(With inputs from agencies)

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