In addition, all the women were healthy. None had high blood pressure, kidney disease or gestational diabetes, the researchers noted.
The team found that both groups of women had similar incidence of pregnancy-associated hypertension, seizure, protein in the urine, preeclampsia, blood or liver abnormalities, loss of the fetus, underweight newborns and preterm delivery. These problems occurred in 6.1 percent of women taking vitamin supplements and in 5.7 percent of women receiving a placebo.
Among women taking the vitamins, 7.2 percent developed preeclampsia, compared with 6.7 percent of the women receiving placebo, the researchers noted. This difference was not statistically significant, they added.
According to the NIH, about 6 percent to 8 percent of pregnancies in the United States cause high blood pressure problems. Of these, 70 percent occur in women having their first baby.
Dr. Eva K. Pressman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said that, "despite our earlier information that oxidative stress played a role in preeclampsia and that we can reduce oxidative stress with vitamins C and E, it doesn't actually seem to work in clinical practice."
These findings don't mean that vitamins C and E are without value, Pressman added. "Vitamin C and E are good for you, but there is no need to take extra doses during pregnancy to prevent preeclampsia."
Pressman noted that for healthy women, right now there is "not much that can be done to prevent preeclampsia."
For more information on preeclampsia, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Eva K. Pr
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