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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Dec;23(12):1468-9. doi: 10.3109/14767051003678168. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Vitamin A supplementation in late pregnancy can decrease the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in newborns.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India.


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic lung disease of infancy which is associated with prematurity and early lung injury resulting from mechanical ventilation. Oxygen toxicity, barotrauma, and volutrauma play key roles in its pathogenesis. Parenteral administration of Vitamin A to the newborn is the current recommended preventive therapy for BPD. Vitamin A has been found to upregulate genes necessary for fetal lung growth and increase surfactant production in animal models. Supplementation of Vitamin A in late pregnancy increases the cord blood vitamin A levels proportionately. Hence, we hypothesize that Vitamin A supplementation during late pregnancy can decrease the incidence of BPD in newborns. This can be an effective adjunct to postnatal preventive therapy. Vitamin A supplementation in late pregnancy carries no risk of teratogenicity unlike in early pregnancy. Moreover, vitamin A deficiency in pregnancy is associated with depressed immune function leading on to increased infectious morbidity and can cause intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight and anemia in newborns. Combining antenatal Vitamin A supplementation to the mother with postnatal supplementation to the newborn can effectively prevent BPD better than the traditional postnatal preventive therapy alone. It will also treat the highly prevalent vitamin A deficiency in pregnant mothers and newborns of the developing world.

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