Vitamin C reduces risk of pregnancy complication, conclude researchers

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Related tags: Childbirth

Researchers at Mexico's National Institute of Perinatology have
found that women taking 100mg of vitamin C supplement a day from
the 20th week of pregnancy may reduce the risk of their waters
breaking too early.

The relatively common condition known as premature rupture of the chorioamniotic membranes (PROM) may result in premature delivery and infection.

Earlier studies have found that vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining the collagen in the membrane throughout gestation but it is not stored well by the body, which excretes whatever it does not need on a daily basis.

The researchers, led by Esther Casanueva, set out to determine the effectiveness of a daily 100mg dose in preventing PROM.

In the controlled double-blind trial, 120 women in their 20th week of pregnancy were randomly assigned to two groups; one group received 100mg of vitamin C each day and the other received a placebo.

The women's plasma and leukocyte vitamin C concentrations were measured every fourth week and the results published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​ (81, 4: 859-863).

They showed that mean plasma vitamin C concentrations decreased as pregnancy progressed in all of the 109 women who completed the study, irrespective of whether they were taking the vitamin C or the placebo. This decrease is typically seen in normal pregnancies.

However the mean leukocyte vitamin C concentrations decreased in the placebo group between weeks 20 and 36 from 17.5 to 15.23 µg/108 cells, compared to an increase from 17.26 to 22.17 µg/108 cells in the vitamin C group.

When it came to the birth, 14 of the 57 women in the placebo group experienced PROM, compared with just four of the 52 women in the vitamin C group.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume 75mg of vitamin C a day, increasing to 80-85mg during pregnancy and 115-120 mg during lactation.

Related topics: Research, Maternal & infant health

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