Antioxidants: their role in pregnancy and miscarriage

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2000 Fall;2(3):623-8. doi: 10.1089/15230860050192369.


The aim of this study was to examine the role of antioxidants within the normal menstrual cycle, in healthy pregnancy, and in women suffering first-trimester miscarriage. The antioxidants chosen comprised of two from peripheral blood-plasma thiol and ceruloplasmin-and two extracellular parameters-superoxide dismustase (SOD) and red cell lysate thiol. We found that antioxidant levels varied little throughout the menstrual cycle. Pregnancies that went successfully to term were associated with increased levels of ceruloplasmin and SOD early in the first trimester. These changes were thought to offer the cell protection from the damage caused by the increased oxidative stress associated with pregnancy. First-trimester miscarriage was associated with significantly reduced levels of SOD. A subgroup of patients who miscarried in their first pregnancy, but whose second pregnancies were successful, had higher levels of plasma thiol and significantly reduced levels of red cell lysate thiol in the on-going pregnancy compared to levels at the time of miscarriage. Miscarriage and pregnancy appear to be associated with increased oxidative stress. In a successful pregnancy, however, changes occurred within the peripheral blood that offered protection from oxidant attack.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Ceruloplasmin / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Ceruloplasmin