Preeclampsia, a dangerous condition affecting pregnant women, is marked by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine during pregnancy.
Normal-weight women who use multivitamins around the time they conceive are less likely to develop this complication of pregnancy, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on June 1, 2009.
In this new study, researchers looked at the Danish National Birth Cohort (1999-2003) to determine if multivitamin usage was linked to risk of preeclampsia. Their analysis included 28,601 women, 65 percent of which were using multivitamins.
For women who used multivitamins during the time of conception, the risk of preeclampsia was 17 percent lower, although adjusting for factors such as smoking and body weight weakened the relationship.
Among women with a normal body mass index of 22, the risk of preeclampsia for those who used multivitamins during the 12-week peri-conception period was 20 percent lower than for women who didn't use vitamins. Multivitamin use did not seem to influence preeclampsia risk in women who were heavier.
Among women who used multivitamins only after conceiving, the risk was 22 percent lower, but only for women with a body mass index below 25. Again, this association was not seen in the heavier pregnant women.
It's thought that multivitamin supplementation around the time of conception may be especially important because the implantation of the fertilized egg and rapid growth of the placenta occur at this time, two process that may play a role in preeclampsia.
Similar to folic acid supplementation, multivitamin supplementation around the time of conception may be worth considering as a preeclampsia prevention strategy, says this study's author.
For more information on nutrition and pregnancy, check out Leslie Beck's Guide to Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy (Penguin Group, 2004).
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