Objectives: To observe the effect of the antioxidant lycopene on the occurrence of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation in primigravida women.
Methods: A total of 251 primigravida women were enrolled in this prospective, randomized controlled study in the second trimester. A total of 116 women were given oral lycopene (Group I) in a dose of 2 mg twice daily while 135 women were given a placebo (Group II) in the same dose until delivery. The criteria for recruitment included gestational age of 16-20 weeks, singleton pregnancy, absence of any medical complication and willingness on the part of the women to participate in the study. The women were followed-up until delivery for development of pre-eclampsia, mode of delivery and fetal outcome.
Results: The two groups were comparable in their maternal characteristics. Pre-eclampsia developed in significantly less women in the lycopene group than in the placebo group (8.6% vs. 17.7%, P=0.043 by chi-square test). Mean diastolic blood pressure was significantly higher in the placebo group (92.2+/-5.98 mmHg vs. 86.7+/-3.80 mmHg, P=0.012). Mean fetal weight was significantly higher in the lycopene group (2751.17+/-315.76 g vs. 2657+/-444.30 g, P=0.049). The incidence of intrauterine growth retardation was significantly lower in the lycopene group than in the placebo group (12% vs. 23.7%, P=0.033).
Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that the antioxidant lycopene reduces the development of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation in primigravida women.