Multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy may be beneficial to prevent a miscarriage, but vitamin C, in particular, does not appear to have any affect on the outcome of pregnancy in women. Indeed, vitamin C supplementation may be helpful to improve the sperm quality of men whose spouses with repeated miscarriages. You should always consult your physician before taking vitamin C or any dietary supplement, particularly if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Vitamin C and Miscarriage
Vitamin supplementation does not reduce the frequency of miscarriage in women, according to research published in 2011 in the online Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. The authors reviewed 28 clinical trials to assess the effects of several types of vitamins on pregnancy outcomes. They reviewed more than 60,000 cases and that found vitamin supplementation of any kind, including vitamin C, did not have any significant effect on fetal loss. The authors did, however, conclude that women taking vitamin supplements were more likely to have a multiple birth.
A 2005 study conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia investigated the effects of vitamin C on preeclampsia, a condition resulting in hypertension of the fetus and mother, which has been associated with an increased rate of miscarriage. The authors reviewed five clinical trials, involving 76 women, and found no association between the frequency of preeclampsia or stillbirth and vitamin C intake. The authors also found that vitamin C was associated with preterm births, but, they cautioned in the Cochrane Database, the study size was too limited to draw defendable conclusions.
Sperm Quality and Miscarriage
The quality of a man’s sperm has been liked with the incidence of miscarriages in their spouses before 12 weeks of gestation. An article in the August 2009 issue of the journal “Fertility and Sterility” explored the effects of vitamin C supplementation in men on the pregnancy outcomes of their spouses. The researchers recruited 17 men with a condition causing the fragmentation of their DNA in sperm, and whose spouses had miscarried two or more times. The men were given supplements of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc for three months. The study found that the spouses of 53 percent of the men became pregnant and had a successful outcome.
Vitamin C, Miscarriage and Alcohol
Vitamin C supplementation may have beneficial effects in preventing damage to an embryo due to alcohol ingestion. Research published in 2009 in the journal “Reproductive Toxicology” assessed the effects of vitamin C on chicken cardiomyocytes, or precursor heart cells, previously exposed to ethyl alcohol. The researchers found that cells exposed to alcohol then supplemented with vitamin C had the same viability as control cells, which were not treated with alcohol.
- “Reproductive Toxicology”; Developmental Toxicity of Ethanol in Chick Heart In Ovo and In Micromass Culture Can Be Prevented by Addition of Vitamin C and Folic Acid; S. Memon, et al.; September 2009
- Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews; Vitamin Supplementation for Preventing Miscarriage; Alice Rumbold, et al.; January 2011