Pregnancy & Parenting

Vitamin Supplements May Lessen Miscarriage Risk

By Gwynn Cassidy

Created: 06/15/2009
Last Updated: 07/24/2012

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I'm a generally fit and healthy person but I'm never as conscious about my health as I am when I'm pregnant or planning a future pregnancy. For example, I was on prenatal vitamins 6 months before I even went off my birth control pills. Every time I went to my pharmacy to get both prescriptions filled my pharmacist felt the need to explain that the prenatal vitamin was for a healthy pregnancy and the birth control pill was to avoid pregnancy. He would then ask if I was certain I wanted both. He just didn't get it. Sigh.

Anyway, this morning I learned about a study from which it was determined that taking vitamins before and during early pregnancy is associated with reduced risk for miscarriage, researchers have determined. However, it may be that the connection is related to generally healthy practices among vitamin takers.

"These results need to be replicated before formal conclusions are drawn," emphasized Dr. Reem Hasan, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Supplemental vitamin recommendations for women who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, are aimed mainly at reducing the risk of birth defects, Hasan and colleagues note in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Their study provides evidence "that vitamins may reduce the risk of miscarriage as well," Hasan told Reuters Health.

Between 2000 and 2008, Hasan's team interviewed 4752 women during their first trimester of pregnancy 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, note Hasan and colleagues.

"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." Hasan advised.

However, the study was unable to account for dietary factors or healthy lifestyle behaviors, and did not differentiate between prenatal vitamin and multivitamin use. Therefore, Hasan's group calls for further investigations into how these factors might alter miscarriage risk. SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, June 2009.

Pregnant or not, which vitamins should every woman know about? Our will help you sort them all out.

Comments

If I could afford them I would still be taking my pre-natal vitamins!! They were great.

If I could afford them I would still be taking my pre-natal vitamins!! They were great.

If I could afford them I would still be taking my pre-natal vitamins!! They were great.

Miscarriages are really scary and can be so hard to go through :(

I took both too for a few months and I'm really glad I did.

My second pregnancy was a total surprise and I worried the entire time because I had not been taking any prenatal vitamins. It wasn't until I discovered the pregnancy that I went on them. Thankfully, my daughter was born healthy but I stayed on the prenatal vitamins for three years (thought it was good for breastfeeding anyway) through to my last pregnancy. I just wish they were less expensive. It cost me $60 a month (yes, even with my insurance)! That's a lot of money.

Me too! I took both for awhile and my pharmacist would make weird comments. What is that about? It had never occured to him that I would want to start taking these critical vitamins months before I attempted to get pregnant. I think there should be some education shared with them.

My friend had the same encounter with a pharmacist when I went with her to fill up her prescriptions. So we had to explain that getting the prenatal vitamins is like laying the groundwork for when she is ready to quit the pills and get started on making babies. And that we do understand the concept of prenatal vitamins and birth control pills.

i found the vitamin cheat sheet on healthywomen.org about a month ago and have been taking the exact supplements/amounts on it since! thanks!

This is a very article, keep the great blogs coming!

I'll have to share this with my pregnant friend. Thanks for the informative article.

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