Vitamins C, E May Not Cut Preeclampsia
Study Included Healthy Pregnant Women Taking Vitamin C, E Supplements
Study's Results continued...
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.
Diet May Have Mattered
Before the study, most participants got more vitamin C and vitamin E from
their diets than the recommended daily amount of those vitamins.
"Thus, the results cannot be generalized to women with low dietary
intakes of antioxidants," write Rumbold and colleagues.
An earlier study showed that supplementation with vitamins C and E "was
beneficial for women at high risk of preeclampsia," Rumbold's team writes.
But Rumbold's study didn't focus on high-risk women.
Other studies on the topic are under way in the U.S. and overseas, the
Some current studies on antioxidant supplements and preeclampsia are being
conducted in developing nations.
In those countries, "the intake of antioxidants may be less and the
benefit of supplementation may be greater than in developed nations," write
editorialists Arun Jeyabalan, MD, and Steve Caritis, MD. Jeyabalan and Caritis
work in Pittsburgh at the maternal-fetal medicine division of Magee-Womens
Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh.
Until more data are available, "supplemental antioxidant therapy for the
prevention of preeclampsia should be limited to women enrolled in randomized
trials and should not be prescribed as part of routine practice," the