March 30, 2006
Vitamins do not cut risk of pregnancy complication
LONDON (Reuters) - High doses of vitamin supplements do not
reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia in women who have a high
risk of the pregnancy complication, scientists said on
Pre-eclampsia, which causes dangerously high blood
pressure, occurs in 2-3 percent of pregnancies.
Earlier research had suggested that high dose supplements
of vitamin C and E could reduce the odds of the problem. But
scientists at King's College in London said their study showed
they did not prevent it.
"Our findings of an increase in low birth-weight and an
increased need for treatment for pre-eclampsia suggest that
these high doses of vitamin C & E do not work in preventing
pre-eclampsia," said Professor Lucilla Poston.
"It is also important to add that although the babies were
born slightly smaller, the likely affect on their long-term
health would be negligible," she added in a statement.
The researchers studied the impact of high dose vitamins on
2,400 women in England who had a high risk of pre-eclampsia.
Half of the women received 1000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin
C and 400 IU (international units) of vitamin E or a placebo
each day during the second trimester of their pregnancy.
The research was published online by The Lancet medical
The incidence of pre-eclampsia was similar in both groups
but more low birth-weight babies were born to women taking the
supplements and they were more likely to need medication to
control the condition.
Women have a higher risk of suffering from pre-eclampsia if
they have suffered from it before or if they have diabetes,
high blood pressure, obesity or renal disease.
Dangerously high blood pressure, fluid retention and
protein in the urine are symptoms of pre-eclampsia. It can lead
to eclampsia, convulsions or fits, which endangers the lives of
both mother and child.