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Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):906-12. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.012393. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Periconceptional multivitamin use and risk of preterm or small-for-gestational-age births in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



The intake of periconceptional multivitamins may decrease the risk of preterm births (PTBs) or small-for-gestational-age (SGA) births.


We related the timing and frequency of periconceptional multivitamin use to SGA births and PTBs and its clinical presentations (ie, preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, and medical induction).


Women in the Danish National Birth Cohort (n = 35,897) reported the number of weeks of multivitamin use during a 12-wk periconceptional period. Cox regression was used to estimate the relation between any multivitamin use and PTBs (<37 wk) or SGA births (birth weight adjusted for gestational age >2 SDs below the mean on the basis of fetal growth curves). The timing (preconception and postconception) and frequency of use were also analyzed. Regular users (4-6 wk) and partial users (1-3 wk) in each period were compared with nonusers.


The association between periconceptional multivitamin use and PTBs varied according to prepregnancy overweight status (P-interaction = 0.07). Regular preconception and postconception multivitamin use in women with a prepregnancy BMI (in kg/m(2)) <25 was associated with reduced risks of a PTB (HR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.95) and preterm labor (HR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.94). No similar associations were shown for overweight women. The adjusted risk of an SGA birth was reduced in multivitamin users regardless of their prepregnancy BMI (HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.95), with the strongest association in regular users in the postconception period.


Regular periconceptional multivitamin use was associated with reduced risk of SGA births and PTBs in nonoverweight women.

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