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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 Mar;23(2):150-5.

A randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of ascorbic acid supplementation for the prevention of preterm labour.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tygerberg Hospital and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and Research Unit for Perinatal Mortality of the Medical Research Council of South Africa.


In a previous study from this institution, patients at high risk for preterm labour were screened for the presence of bacterial vaginosis (BV). When BV was present, they were randomised to receive either treatment (metronidazole) or placebo (vitamin C). There were significantly more patients with preterm labour in the metronidazole group. The aim of this double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial study was to determine whether vitamin C could indeed reduce the recurrence risk of preterm labour. Patients with a history of preterm labour in a preceding pregnancy were randomised to receive 250 mg vitamin C or a matching placebo twice daily until 34 weeks' gestation. They attended a dedicated premature labour clinic. Significantly more women delivered before term in the group that received vitamin C, but there was no difference in the outcome of the babies between the two groups. Supplementation with vitamin C did not prevent premature labour.

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