Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pregnancy, Part II: Taking Care of Baby

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Did you have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia during your pregnancy?  If you’re currently breastfeeding your baby, it’s crucial that you continue to check your vitamin B12 (cobalamin) levels.  Here’s the scoop on taking care of baby with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pregnancy, Part II: Taking Care of Baby

Breastfeeding with B12 deficiency

Even after giving birth, if you breastfeed and have vitamin B12 deficiency at the same time, then your baby is also at high risk for getting vitamin B12 deficiency, regardless of how often you nurse.

Many studies have been conducted documenting the dangers of exclusive breastfeeding while suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.

In them, researchers noted some disturbing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in infants, such as failure to thrive.

Most of these symptoms were alleviated only after B12 levels were restored to normal through immediate supplementation of vitamin B12.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency in infants

In numerous studies, exclusively breastfed infants of mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency showed the following symptoms:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
  • Poor muscular coordination (ataxia)
  • Feebleness
  • Anorexia
  • Developmental delays
  • Pernicious anemia

Permanent damage caused by B12 deficiency

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause:

Breast or bottle- it’s still up to you

The decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed is a personal decision, but vitamin B12 deficiency should not be the deal breaker.

You can rest assured that your baby is getting all the nourishment it needs, as long as you continue to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels.

Remember, it’s not possible to take too much vitamin B12, as there are no harmful side effects to taking large doses of vitamin B12.  

Not having enough vitamin B12 in your blood supply, however, can be detrimental, even deadly.

Please tell us…

If you have pernicious anemia, did you find out only after years of suffering, or were you warned about it from family members?

Have you been putting off having a baby because of low energy from vitamin B12 deficiency?

As always, we welcome your comments!

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Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency in infants:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pregnancy, Part I: Planning a Baby

Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency while Breast Feeding

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Infants- Developmental Disabilities


Nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency: Two cases detected by routine newborn urinary screening

Manifestations of Low Vitamin B12 Levels

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12- Health Professional Fact Sheet

Effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on neurodevelopment in infants: current knowledge and possible mechanisms