Beef Up Your Prenatal Meals

03.31.11 Study says vitamin found in red meat helps women have babies who cry less.

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Finally, some good news for us meat lovers! A new Dutch study says that pregnant women whose early pregnancy cravings are heavy on meat are less likely to have colicky babies, the Daily Mail in the U.K. reports.

The study, published in the journal Early Human Development, found that women who increase their intake of the vitamin B12, which is found in steak and other proteins, are "up to eight times more likely to have babies who cry less," according to the Daily Mail article.

A lack of B12, say researchers from the Public Health Service in The Netherlands, who studied almost 3,000 expectant women, could affect the protective tissue development in nerve cells and also the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, the Daily Mail reports. When combined, these two factors can cause a high level of crankiness in babies. New moms with the lowest levels of B12 had babies who cried an average of three hours a day, our blog friends at The Stir reported.

So if you're a vegetarian, be sure to get your B12 from another source. The B12 vitamin is naturally found in red meat, fish and dairy products.

Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat eater, shifting the way you eat during pregnancy can give you more of the nutrients you and your developing baby need. Check out our Flex Your Diet page for more details on the Flexitarian Diet and how easy it is to get the most out of your meals.

As for colic, our experts say there are five truths about this near-inconsolable crying. However, pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., has an effective technique called the "5 S's," which stimulate an infant's calming reflex and help him or her sleep longer. Head over to our How To Calm Your Colicky Baby page for step-by-step details and video to see Karp in action.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.