Vitamin profile of 563 gravidas during trimesters of pregnancy

J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):33-7. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2002.10719191.


Objective: Gestation imposes metabolic stress on the mother which heightens as pregnancy progresses. The need for quantifying circulating vitamins is important for identifying pitfalls in metabolic imbalance and nutritional status. For this reason we wanted to analyze blood vitamin concentrations of B12, thiamin, biotin, pantothenate, B6, niacin, riboflavin, folate, vitamins A, C, E and total carotenes to determine if imbalances occur during the trimesters of pregnancy.

Methods: We randomly selected 563 gravidas who volunteered for this study from the obstetrical clinic of New Jersey Medical School; 132 were in 1st trimester, 198 were in 2nd trimester, and 233 were in 3rd trimester. All were healthy, taking a good diet and supplemented with vitamins. Blood, from an antecubital vein, was analyzed for thiamin, biotin, B12, B6, pantothenate, riboflavin, nicotinate, folates, vitamins A, E, C and total carotenes. Gravidas were classified as being normovitaminemic, hypervitaminemic or hypovitaminemic compared with blood vitamins seen in healthy non-pregnant, non-vitamin supplemented women.

Result: Hypervitaminemic levels of folate, biotin, pantothenate and riboflavin were found during any trimester of pregnancy due to vitamin supplementation. Despite the vitamin supplementation, a high percent of vitamin A, B6, niacin. thiamin and B 12 hypovitaminemia was noted during pregnancy trimesters. An especially high percentage of niacin deficiency was seen during the 1st trimester; it worsened in later trimesters; B12 deficits increased during the late trimesters. Combination deficits of niacin, thiamin, vitamins A, B6, B12 were noted in each of the trimesters.

Conclusions: Despite vitamin supplementation, a vitamin profile of pregnancy indicates that vitamin deficits exist during the trimesters. Also, combination hypovitaminemias of deficient vitamins were noted; this indicates that a vitamin deficit during pregnancy does not occur in isolation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Avitaminosis / blood
  • Avitaminosis / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Niacin / deficiency
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy / blood*
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Thiamine Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamins / blood*


  • Vitamins
  • Niacin