Moms-to-be may want to soak up some sun early in their pregnancy, according to new research. Astudyfrom Scotland finds women can reduce the risk of premature birth by getting out in the sunshine during the first few months of their pregnancy. Babies born alive before 37 weeks are considered preterm and complications resulting from it are the leading cause of death in kids under five-years-old.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh analyzed maternity care for close to 400-thousand mothers and over 500-thousand babies and found women who get more sunlight during their first trimester lower the chances of developing problems with their placenta that could lead to preterm birth and baby loss. The chance of those who get the least amount of sunlight giving birth prematurely is 10% higher than women who get the highest levels of sunlight. But sun exposure in the second trimester doesn’t seem to have any impact on premature birth risk.
So how does sunlight help prevent babies from being born early? Study authors say they’ll have to do more research to better understand the link between sunshine and premature birth. Sunlight does contribute to vitamin D production, which helps with the development of an unborn baby’s teeth, bones, kidneys, heart and nervous system. And experts are already looking into whether artificial light can help moms-to-be in areas with limited sunshine.