News

Multivitamins may reduce premature birth risk

August 29, 2011

According to a new Danish study, women who begin using multivitamin supplements around the time of conception may have a lower risk of giving birth prematurely.

In the observational study, 35,897 women participating in the Danish National Birth Cohort were evaluated regarding the occurrence of premature birth – defined as birth prior to the 37th week of pregnancy – and multivitamin use during a 12-week period around the time of conception (1). The study results showed that normal-weight regular users of multivitamins taking supplements for four to six weeks around the period of conception had a significantly reduced risk of pre-term labor and premature birth. No benefits were observed in overweight women. The supplements contained folic acid (200 µg), vitamins C and E, as well as zinc.

The researchers concluded that multivitamin use around the time of conception could be a safe and simple strategy to improve pregnancy outcomes. However, the results should be interpreted with caution because pregnancy outcomes can also be linked to other lifestyle factors. Zinc, and antioxidant vitamins C and E have previously been associated with the risk of pre-term birth. Pre-term birth may be related to the impact of oxidative stress on the placenta.

References

  1. Catov J. M. et al. Periconceptional multivitamin use and risk of preterm or small-for-gestational-age births in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94:906–912.