Cite this article
Vitamin B12 and folic acid status of term pregnant women and newborns in the Antwerp region, Belgium
1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Antwerp University Hospital UZA, Edegem (Belgium)
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2014, 41(2), 141–143; https://doi.org/10.12891/ceog16802014
Published: 10 April 2014
Objective: Descriptive study on maternal serum vitamin B12 and folic acid in term pregnancy and in umbilical cord blood that was performed in an inner city hospital with a mixed ethnic population in the region of Flanders in Belgium. Materials and Methods: A prospective cohort study that took place from April 1 until May 31, 2011. Plasma folic acid and vitamin B12 were measured in maternal and umbilical cord blood from all term uncomplicated deliveries in a single regional hospital. Data on age, previous obstetric history, ethnicity, nutritional intake, and use of vitamin supplements were registered. Results: Data were collected from 110 patients, mean maternal serum vitamin B12 was 243.9 pmol/l and mean folic acid level was 43.0 nmol/l. Using a cutoff of respectively 150 pmol/l for vitamin B12 and 7.1 nmol/l for folic acid, 13% of the women were classified as vitamin B12-deficient and 23% were deficient for folic acid. Vitamin B12 deficiency was only seen in autochthonous Belgian women. A correlation between the maternal and umbilical cord levels was noted (R = 0.7 for vitamin B12, R = 0.85 for folic acid), but none of the umbilical cord levels demonstrated deficiency. Number of previous pregnancies and intake of supplements had no influence. Conclusion: Pregnant women in Antwerp, Belgium, frequently show vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency, although a correlation exists with lower umbilical cord levels, the present limited data did not demonstrate any case of deficiency in umbilical cord blood. The frequency is highest in the autochthonous population and is not influenced by intake of vitamin supplements.