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Vitamin supplements lessen miscarriage risk

Taking vitamins before and during early pregnancy is associated with reduced risk for miscarriage.

Vitamin supplements lessen miscarriage risk

Taking vitamins before and during early pregnancy is associated with reduced risk for miscarriage. However, it may be that the connection is related to generally healthy practices among vitamin takers.

Supplemental vitamin recommendations for women who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, are aimed mainly at reducing the risk of birth defects. The following study provides evidence that vitamins may reduce the risk of miscarriage as well.

Researchers from America interviewed 4752 women during their first trimester of pregnancy (between 200-2008) to determine their use of prenatal vitamins and multi-vitamins. Overall, 95 percent of the women reported using prenatal vitamins or multivitamins at some point during the first three months of pregnancy. About half the women reported taking vitamins prior to conception.

There were 524 miscarriages among the subjects. The researchers found that the risk for miscarriage was 57 percent lower among women who took vitamins, compared to those who did not. This reduced risk was not altered by other factors including age, hormone use, the number of prior pregnancies, smoking status, race/ethnicity, educational level, and marital status.

Because miscarriage occurs very early in pregnancy, it is important for women of reproductive age, who may become pregnant, to eat a balanced diet and use vitamins. However, the study was unable to account for dietary factors or healthy lifestyle behaviours, and did not differentiate between prenatal vitamin and multivitamin use. Therefore, the researchers call for further investigations into how these factors might alter miscarriage risk. The above results need to be replicated before formal conclusions are drawn.

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