A new study says that vitamin C and E supplements are of no help when taken in early pregnancy to reduce the risk for the hypertensive disorders and their complications that occur during pregnancy.
The supplements notably failed to reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal form of hypertension in pregnancy, the study by a National Institutes of Health research network found.
"The study results effectively rule out vitamin C and E supplements as a means to prevent the hypertensive disorders seen in pregnancy," said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., acting director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of the NIH Institutes that provided funding for the study.
The finding appears in the April 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study included only women giving birth for the first time, a group at higher risk for developing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. In general, the women were healthy and did not have high blood pressure, protein in the urine (an indication of stress on the kidneys), or gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes that emerges in pregnancy). The researchers enrolled over 10,000 women, starting in the ninth to 16th weeks of pregnancy, and followed them to delivery. The women also received daily supplements of vitamins C and E or a placebo.