Pregnant? Get some sun!
Sun-shy mothers may raise the risk of multiple sclerosis in their babies.
Children whose mothers had low exposure to sunlight during their first three months of pregnancy may have a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis
later in life, a study in Australia has found.
Low vitamin D levels have long been linked to a higher risk of MS. Experts suspect a lack of exposure to sunlight may affect the foetus's central nervous system or immune system, and predispose it to developing MS later in life.
In the Australian study, researchers combed birth records of 1524 MS patients born between 1920 and 1950, and found there were more of them born in the months of November and December.
This means their first trimester occurred during the winter months of April to June, a time when expectant mothers in the southern hemisphere may prefer to be indoors to escape the cold.
Conversely, there were far fewer MS patients who were born in May and June - meaning their first trimesters
were in the early summer months of September to November.
"The risk of multiple sclerosis was around 30% higher for those born in the early summer months of November and December compared to the months of May and June," the researchers wrote in a statement.
Vitamin D may be particularly important for the development of the foetus's central nervous system, the investigators wrote.
"Vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of multiple sclerosis might also need to be considered during in utero development," Judith Staples and Lynette Lim wrote in the paper.Do you or did you shy away from the sun while pregnant?