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Br J Nutr. 1990 Sep;64(2):351-8.

Effect of vitamin A supplementation on haemoglobin and vitamin A levels during pregnancy.

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National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad, India.


About 450 pregnant women from a low-income group were recruited to study the effect of vitamin A supplementation on plasma vitamin A levels in the mother and cord and on the birth weights of the neonates. Results showed that supplementation with 1800 micrograms vitamin A/d for more than 12 weeks prevented the decline in plasma vitamin A that otherwise occurs during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This improvement in maternal values for vitamin A at a critical time of development favourably affected availability to the fetus, as reflected by the marked elevation in cord levels. Supplementation for a period of 12 weeks was found to be sufficient, since subsequent discontinuation did not alter the beneficial response. Apart from increasing maternal and cord vitamin A levels, vitamin A supplementation along with iron prevented, in this study, the significant decline in haemoglobin occurring at 26-28 weeks of gestation. The birth weights were not altered by vitamin A supplementation.

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