The Role of Vitamin E in Pregnancy

  • Ann L. Anderson BerryEmail author
  • Corrine K. Hanson
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Oxidative stress has been associated with low birth weight, preterm delivery, and preeclampsia, all important negative maternal or neonatal outcomes of pregnancy. Vitamin E, specifically RRR-α-tocopherol, has potent antioxidant effects that may help mitigate these risks if intake is optimal during pregnancy. Many complications of pregnancy and the neonatal period are augmented by inflammation making the task of defining optimal vitamin E status and antioxidant capacity during pregnancy a worthwhile endeavor. Clinical supplementation trials of vitamin E during pregnancy as reviewed by a 2015 Cochrane review are inconclusive or draw contradictory conclusions and have designs that do not lead to robust data for analysis. Additional information regarding placental regulation of α- and γ-tocopherols, fetal tissue incorporation, and fetal serum concentrations of tocopherol metabolites are other areas for continued research. A more complete understanding of vitamin E status of the pregnant woman and its impact on the developing fetus as well as associations with pregnancy outcomes such as length of gestation, mode of delivery, and associations with preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and gestational diabetes is critical to improving pregnancy outcomes. Considerable scientific work remains necessary to fully understand the role of vitamin E in fertility and pregnancy and its ability to optimize maternal and neonatal outcomes.


Pregnancy Vitamin E α-Tocopherol γ-Tocopherol Preeclampsia Pregnancy outcomes Oxidative stress Fertility Prematurity Intrauterine growth restriction Preterm delivery 



We would like to gratefully acknowledge the help of Ammar Kamil and Matthew VanOrmer for their help in the preparation of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPQIC)OmahaUSA
  3. 3.NICU and Newborn Nursery/Nebraska Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  4. 4.Medical Nutrition EducationUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Allied Health ProfessionsOmahaUSA

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