Influence of maternal serum levels of vitamins C and E during the second trimester on birth weight and length

B. E. Lee, Y. C. Hong, K. H. Lee, Y. J. Kim, W. K. Kim, N. S. Chang, E. A. Park, H. S. Park, H. J. Hann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: It has been known that maternal oxidative stress during pregnancy plays an important role in fetal growth. However, the association between antioxidant vitamin levels and birth outcomes is not conclusive. We investigated the relationship between maternal serum levels of vitamins C and E during the second trimester and birth weight and length. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Outpatient-clinic of obstetrics, Ewha Womans University Hospital, South Korea. Subjects and methods: The study subjects were 239 healthy, pregnant women who visited an obstetric clinic for antenatal care, and their singleton live births, in Seoul, Korea, between August 2001 and March 2003. We measured the levels of vitamins C and E in maternal serum during the period 24-28 gestational weeks. Each woman was interviewed for dietary intake by trained interviewers during the second trimester. Results: The serum concentration of maternal vitamin C during the second trimester was significantly associated with birth weight and length in the group of full-term deliveries. An increase of 1 μg/ml in the serum vitamin C level increased the birth weight by 27.2g and the birth length by 0.17 cm. When we considered the levels of vitamins C and E together in the relationship with birth weight and length, we found that the heaviest birth weight and the longest birth length belonged to the group of upper vitamin C/upper vitamin E. However, dietary intake estimated by 24-h recall method was not a predictor of the levels of serum vitamins C and E. Conclusion: We found that maternal serum vitamin C levels during the second trimester were positively correlated with birth weight and length in full-term babies. We also found that birth weight and length were highest when the levels of both vitamins C and E were high. Our results indicate the importance of antioxidant nutrient balance for pregnant women who are exposed to various oxidants through food, drinking water, or inhaled air.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1371
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Korea Health 21 R&D project, Ministry of Health & Welfare (HMP-01-PT1-01CH15-0009). YC Hong was supported in part by the Korea Research Foundation (E00091).


  • Oxidative stress
  • Pregnancy
  • The second trimester
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E


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