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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Multivitamin Supplements Support Full-Term Pregnancies

By Michael McBurney

According to the CDC, 11% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full term. A new study finds that women using a multivitamin-mineral supplement before and during the first term of pregnancy are less likely to miscarry.

Couples living in Michigan and Texas were recruited to a lifestyle style assessing daily use of multivitamins, cigarettes, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. The women used fertility clinics for ovulation detection and pregnancy tests. Daily data from 344 couples (28% of the cohort) from gestation through the 7th week of pregnancy was examined from couples who had a baby. Of the 344 pregnancies, 98 ended in miscarriage (28%). Being 35y and older, increased miscarriage risk . Miscarriage risk was 55% lower among women ≥35y who regularly used a multivitamin supplement during  preconception. Taking a multivitamin supplement was associated with a 79% reduced risk of miscarriage during pregnancy.

Eating a nutritious diet is important, especially so for couples hoping to have a baby. The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found that 9 nutrients are underconsumed: vitamins A, C, D, E, folate, calcium, fiber, magnesium and potassium. For women of reproductive age, iron is added to this list.

Consuming recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal nutritional status is especially important before and during pregnancy. Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased risk of miscarriage. Low blood vitamin E concentrations are associated with increased risk of miscarriage.  

Globally, pregnancy outcomes are known to be associated with inadequate intakes of micronutrients. New NIH research demonstrates the benefits of using multivitamin supplements by couples who wish to conceive.

Main Citation

Buck Louis GM, Sapra KJ, Schisterman EF, Lynch CD, Maisog JM, Grantz KL, Sundaram R. Lifestyle and pregnancy loss in a contemporary cohort of women recruited before conception: The LIFE Study. 2016 Fertility and Sterility doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.03.009

Other Citations

Anderson LB, Jorgensen JS, Jensen TK, Dalgard C, Barington T, Nielsen J, Beck-Nielsen SS, Husby S, Abrahamsen B, Lamont RF, Christesen HT. Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased risk of first-trimester miscarriage in the Odense Child Cohort. 2015 Am J Clin Nutr doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.103655

Shamim AA, Schulze K, Merrill RD, Kabir A, Christian P, Shaikh S, Wu L, Ali H, Labrique AB, Mehra S, Klemm RDW, Rashid M, Sungpuag P, Udomkesmalee E, West Jr KP. First-trimester plasma tocopherols are associated with risk of miscarriage in rural Bangladesh. 2014 Am J Clin Nutr doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.094920

Mohammad H, Marquis GS, Aboud F, Bougma K, Harding KB, Samuel A. Poor pregnancy and birth outcomes are associated with the indicators of inadequate dietary intakes of micronutrients in rural women of the Amhara region of Ethiopia. 2015 Eur J Nutr Food Safety 5(5):674-675