Serum Ascorbic Acid Levels During Pregnancy in Enugu, Nigeria
AbstractBackground: Pregnancy, though a physiological process promotes oxidative stress. Ascorbic acid and other antioxidants are used as defense mechanisms against this stress leading to low levels in pregnancy. The degree of reduction in plasma levels has been implicated in the aetiology and severity of many obstetric complications.
Objective: To determine the level or degree of reduction in serum ascorbic acid during pregnancy and recommend supplementation strategies.
Subjects and Methods: Sixty five (65) pregnant and 65 non pregnant women with age range 20-38 years were recruited. The pregnant women were in their second and third trimesters, attending antenatal clinic at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu. Serum levels of ascorbic acid were determined for all the subjects.
Results: The serum ascorbic acid levels were significantly lower in pregnant women than in controls. (P < 0.05). There was also a steady decline in the serum levels of ascorbic acid with increasing gestational age.
Conclusion: Serum levels of ascorbic acid were reduced in our pregnant women despite our supplementations. Thus increase in the dose during pregnancy and lactation is strongly advocated. The amount to be given is subject to further research.
Key words: Ascorbic acid, Pregnancy, Increased dosage
Journal of College of Medicine Vol.10(1) 2005: 43-45