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Vitamins C, E May Not Cut Preeclampsia

Study Included Healthy Pregnant Women Taking Vitamin C, E Supplements
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Vitamin Study

The women in Rumbold's study hadn't given birth before. Each was only carrying one baby. The women had similar backgrounds. Their dietary intake of vitamins C and E was also similar, according to surveys the women completed at the study's start.

Rumbold's team randomly assigned roughly half of the women to the vitamin group. The researchers gave those women daily supplements totaling 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E (as d-alpha-tocopherol succinate).

No one knew who got the vitamins and who got the placebo. Either way, the women were told to swallow two of the pills in the morning and two in the evening.

Other antioxidant supplements were off limits during the study. But the women were allowed to take daily multivitamins containing up to 200 milligrams of vitamin C or 50 international units of vitamin E.

Study's Results

Most women didn't develop preeclampsiaor other problems covered in the study.

Preeclampsia developed in 6% of the women in the vitamin group and 5% of the placebo group. Infants died or had serious complications in 9.5% of the vitamin group, compared with about 12% of the placebo group. Babies were at low weight for their gestational age for about 9% of the vitamin group and nearly 10% of the placebo group.

Those differences were small enough that they could have been due to chance, the study shows.

Fewer babies in the vitamin group had respiratory distress syndrome or needed surfactant, which helps in breathing. That finding didn't appear to be due to chance.

After giving birth, women in the vitamin group had an increased risk of being hospitalized for high blood pressureor being prescribed drugs to tame high blood pressure. However, those findings may have been due to chance, the researchers note.

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