Study finds a positive association between maternal vitamin intake and birth weight

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According to a new study, higher intake of vitamins D, B1, B3, and B12, and moderate intake of vitamins A, B6, and B9 during pregnancy are associated with lower risk for small for gestational age (SGA).

Among various factors that influence the risk for SGA, dietary habits play a vital role in foetoplacental growth. Moreover, it is potentially modifiable during pregnancy.

Researchers performed a matched case-control study of pregnant women (n=518) to determine the association between dietary vitamin intake and risk for SGA. They evaluated dietary vitamin intake using validated food frequency questionnaire across different quintiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, and Q5).

The findings published in the journal of Nutrients revealed that vitamin B9 significantly reduced the risk for SGA in quintiles 3 (adjusted OR [aOR], 0.64; 95% CI, 0.41-1.00) and 4 (aOR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37-0.91). After adjustment for confounders, dietary intake of vitamins A, D, B3, and B6 was linked to decreased risk for SGA. Vitamin B12 significantly reduced the risk for SGA in quintiles 4 (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39-0.95) and 5 (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.43-1.04). No significant association was seen between intake of vitamins B2, E, and C, and SGA.

“Although there can be ceiling effect for higher intake of some vitamins, there is a positive association and temporal relation between dietary vitamin intake during pregnancy and weight of the newborn,” the authors said. They further added, “It is desirable to reinforce maternal counseling and encourage dietary vitamin intake during pregnancy to decrease the risk for SGA newborns and secondarily reduce its effects.”