Effect of high dose folic acid supplementation in pregnancy on pre-eclampsia (FACT)

Objective To determine the efficacy of high dose folic acid supplementation for prevention of pre-eclampsia in women with at least one risk factor: pre-existing hypertension, prepregnancy diabetes (type 1 or 2), twin pregnancy, pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy, or body mass index ≥35.

Design Randomised, phase III, double blinded international, multicentre clinical trial.

Setting 70 obstetrical centres in five countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Jamaica, and UK).

Participants 2464 pregnant women with at least one high risk factor for pre-eclampsia were randomised between 2011 and 2015 (1144 to the folic acid group and 1157 to the placebo group); 2301 were included in the intention to treat analyses.

Intervention Eligible women were randomised to receive either daily high dose folic acid (four 1.0 mg oral tablets) or placebo from eight weeks of gestation to the end of week 16 of gestation until delivery. Clinicians, participants, adjudicators, and study staff were masked to study treatment allocation.

Main outcome measure The primary outcome was pre-eclampsia, defined as hypertension presenting after 20 weeks’ gestation with major proteinuria or HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets).

Results Pre-eclampsia occurred in 169/1144 (14.8%) women in the folic acid group and 156/1157 (13.5%) in the placebo group (relative risk 1.10, 95% confidence interval 0.90 to 1.34; P=0.37). There was no evidence of differences between the groups for any other adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes.

Conclusion Supplementation with 4.0 mg/day folic acid beyond the first trimester does not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for this condition.

Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN23781770 and ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01355159.

Reference: BMJ 2018;362:k3478

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Effect of fish oil supplementation in pregnancy on bone, lean, and fat mass at six years

Objective To examine the effect of supplementation with n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) in pregnancy on anthropometry and body composition in offspring.

Design Double blinded, randomised controlled trial.

Setting Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood2010 cohort.

Participants 736 pregnant women and their offspring.

Intervention n-3 LCPUFA (fish oil) or control (olive oil) daily from pregnancy week 24 until one week after birth.

Main outcome measures Height/length, weight, head, and waist measurements and body composition from dual energy x ray absorptiometry (all pre-specified secondary endpoints of the n-3 LCPUFA trial; the primary outcome for the trial was persistent wheeze/asthma).

Results The mean body mass index (BMI) z score was increased between age 0 and 6 years in the fish oil supplementation group compared with the control group (0.14 (95% confidence interval 0.04 to 0.23); P=0.006). At 6 years, supplementation was associated with a higher BMI z score (0.19 (0.06 to 0.32); P=0.004), a higher weight/height (3.48 (0.38 to 6.57) g/cm; P=0.03), and a larger waist circumference (0.6 (0.0 to 1.2) cm; P=0.04) but not a higher proportion of obese children, using International Obesity Task Force grades. The dual energy x ray absorptiometry scan at age 6 years showed a higher total mass (395.4 (86.6 to 704.3) g; P=0.01) in the supplementation versus the control group, explained by a higher lean mass (280.7 (98.9 to 462.4) g; P=0.002), a higher bone mineral content (10.3 (2.3 to 18.1) g; P=0.01), and a non-significantly higher fat mass (116.3 (−92.9 to 325.5) g; P=0.28), but no differences were seen in total body fat or lean mass percentage.

Conclusion Fish oil supplementation from the 24th week of pregnancy led to a higher BMI in the offspring from 0 to 6 years of age but not an increased risk of obesity at age 6. The body composition at age 6 years in children given fish oil supplementation was characterised by a proportional increase in lean, bone, and fat mass suggesting a general growth stimulating effect of n-3 LCPUFA.

Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00798226

Reference: BMJ 2018;362:k3312

 

Vitamin D Supplementation in Pregnancy and Lactation and Infant Growth

BACKGROUND

It is unclear whether maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and lactation improves fetal and infant growth in regions where vitamin D deficiency is common.

METHODS

We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Bangladesh to assess the effects of weekly prenatal vitamin D supplementation (from 17 to 24 weeks of gestation until birth) and postpartum vitamin D supplementation on the primary outcome of infants’ length-for-age z scores at 1 year according to World Health Organization (WHO) child growth standards. One group received neither prenatal nor postpartum vitamin D (placebo group). Three groups received prenatal supplementation only, in doses of 4200 IU (prenatal 4200 group), 16,800 IU (prenatal 16,800 group), and 28,000 IU (prenatal 28,000 group). The fifth group received prenatal supplementation as well as 26 weeks of postpartum supplementation in the amount of 28,000 IU (prenatal and postpartum 28,000 group).

RESULTS

Among 1164 infants assessed at 1 year of age (89.5% of 1300 pregnancies), there were no significant differences across groups in the mean (±SD) length-for-age z scores. Scores were as follows: placebo, −0.93±1.05; prenatal 4200, −1.11±1.12; prenatal 16,800, −0.97±0.97; prenatal 28,000, −1.06±1.07; and prenatal and postpartum 28,000, −0.94±1.00 (P=0.23 for a global test of differences across groups). Other anthropometric measures, birth outcomes, and morbidity did not differ significantly across groups. Vitamin D supplementation had expected effects on maternal and infant serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium concentrations, maternal urinary calcium excretion, and maternal parathyroid hormone concentrations. There were no significant differences in the frequencies of adverse events across groups, with the exception of a higher rate of possible hypercalciuria among the women receiving the highest dose.

CONCLUSIONS

In a population with widespread prenatal vitamin D deficiency and fetal and infant growth restriction, maternal vitamin D supplementation from midpregnancy until birth or until 6 months post partum did not improve fetal or infant growth. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01924013.)

Infants who are small for gestational age or have impaired postnatal linear growth continue to be of major concern with regard to public health in low- and middle-income countries.1,2 However, environmental and dietary regulation of fetal and infant growth remain inadequately understood. Observational studies have shown numerous early-life risk factors for later anthropometric outcomes,3,4 but there is limited evidence of benefit of prenatal micronutrient interventions on childhood linear growth.5

Vitamin D may influence fetal and postnatal growth through effects on calcium absorption,6parathyroid hormone expression,7 phosphate metabolism,8 growth-plate function,9,10 and regulation of the insulin-like growth factor axis.11 Meta-analyses of observational studies12 and clinical trials13 have suggested that vitamin D may have a beneficial effect on fetal growth, but most previous trials have had methodologic limitations.13 In a previous small trial in Bangladesh, we found that early postnatal linear growth was higher in infants born to women who had received vitamin D supplementation as compared with those who had not received supplementation.14

In Bangladesh, approximately 30% of newborns are small for gestational age,1 and the growth of 36% of children younger than 5 years of age is stunted (height-for-age z score, <−2).15 Vitamin D deficiency is common in Bangladeshi women of reproductive age.16 In the Maternal Vitamin D for Infant Growth (MDIG) trial conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we evaluated the dose-dependent effects of prenatal vitamin D supplementation, with and without postpartum supplementation, on infant growth and other maternal, newborn, and infant outcomes.

Reference: N Engl J Med 2018; 379:535-546

NIHR Signals

The National Institute for Health Research has published new Signals containing summaries of published research for health and social care decision makers:

Continuous glucose monitoring in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes (CONCEPTT)

Background

Pregnant women with type 1 diabetes are a high-risk population who are recommended to strive for optimal glucose control, but neonatal outcomes attributed to maternal hyperglycaemia remain suboptimal. Our aim was to examine the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) on maternal glucose control and obstetric and neonatal health outcomes.

Methods

In this multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial, we recruited women aged 18–40 years with type 1 diabetes for a minimum of 12 months who were receiving intensive insulin therapy. Participants were pregnant (≤13 weeks and 6 days’ gestation) or planning pregnancy from 31 hospitals in Canada, England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and the USA. We ran two trials in parallel for pregnant participants and for participants planning pregnancy. In both trials, participants were randomly assigned to either CGM in addition to capillary glucose monitoring or capillary glucose monitoring alone. Randomisation was stratified by insulin delivery (pump or injections) and baseline glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). The primary outcome was change in HbA1c from randomisation to 34 weeks’ gestation in pregnant women and to 24 weeks or conception in women planning pregnancy, and was assessed in all randomised participants with baseline assessments. Secondary outcomes included obstetric and neonatal health outcomes, assessed with all available data without imputation. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01788527.

Findings

Between March 25, 2013, and March 22, 2016, we randomly assigned 325 women (215 pregnant, 110 planning pregnancy) to capillary glucose monitoring with CGM (108 pregnant and 53 planning pregnancy) or without (107 pregnant and 57 planning pregnancy). We found a small difference in HbA1c in pregnant women using CGM (mean difference −0·19%; 95% CI −0·34 to −0·03; p=0·0207). Pregnant CGM users spent more time in target (68% vs 61%; p=0·0034) and less time hyperglycaemic (27% vs 32%; p=0·0279) than did pregnant control participants, with comparable severe hypoglycaemia episodes (18 CGM and 21 control) and time spent hypoglycaemic (3% vs 4%; p=0·10). Neonatal health outcomes were significantly improved, with lower incidence of large for gestational age (odds ratio 0·51, 95% CI 0·28 to 0·90; p=0·0210), fewer neonatal intensive care admissions lasting more than 24 h (0·48; 0·26 to 0·86; p=0·0157), fewer incidences of neonatal hypoglycaemia (0·45; 0·22 to 0·89; p=0·0250), and 1-day shorter length of hospital stay (p=0·0091). We found no apparent benefit of CGM in women planning pregnancy. Adverse events occurred in 51 (48%) of CGM participants and 43 (40%) of control participants in the pregnancy trial, and in 12 (27%) of CGM participants and 21 (37%) of control participants in the planning pregnancy trial. Serious adverse events occurred in 13 (6%) participants in the pregnancy trial (eight [7%] CGM, five [5%] control) and in three (3%) participants in the planning pregnancy trial (two [4%] CGM and one [2%] control). The most common adverse events were skin reactions occurring in 49 (48%) of 103 CGM participants and eight (8%) of 104 control participants during pregnancy and in 23 (44%) of 52 CGM participants and five (9%) of 57 control participants in the planning pregnancy trial. The most common serious adverse events were gastrointestinal (nausea and vomiting in four participants during pregnancy and three participants planning pregnancy).

Interpretation

Use of CGM during pregnancy in patients with type 1 diabetes is associated with improved neonatal outcomes, which are likely to be attributed to reduced exposure to maternal hyperglycaemia. CGM should be offered to all pregnant women with type 1 diabetes using intensive insulin therapy. This study is the first to indicate potential for improvements in non-glycaemic health outcomes from CGM use.

Funding

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Canadian Clinical Trials Network, and National Institute for Health Research.

Reference: The Lancet, Volume 390, No. 10110, p2347–2359, 25 November 2017

Antenatal nutritional supplementation and autism spectrum disorders in the Stockholm youth cohort: population based cohort study

Objective To determine whether nutritional supplementation during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with and without intellectual disability in offspring.

Design Observational prospective cohort study using multivariable logistic regression, sibling controls, and propensity score matching.

Setting Stockholm County, Sweden.

Participants 273 107 mother-child pairs identified through population registers. The study sample was restricted to children who were aged 4 to 15 years by the end of follow-up on 31 December 2011 and were born between 1996 and 2007.

Exposures Multivitamin, iron, and folic acid supplement use was reported at the first antenatal visit.

Main outcome measure Diagnosis of ASD with and without intellectual disability in children determined from register data up to 31 December 2011.

Results Prevalence of ASD with intellectual disability was 0.26% (158 cases in 61 934) in the maternal multivitamin use group and 0.48% (430 cases in 90 480) in the no nutritional supplementation use group. Maternal multivitamin use with or without additional iron or folic acid, or both was associated with lower odds of ASD with intellectual disability in the child compared with mothers who did not use multivitamins, iron, and folic acid (odds ratio 0.69, 95% confidence interval 0.57 to 0.84). Similar estimates were found in propensity score matched (0.68, 0.54 to 0.86) and sibling control (0.77, 0.52 to 1.15) matched analyses, though the confidence interval for the latter association included 1.0 and was therefore not statistically significant. There was no consistent evidence that either iron or folic acid use were inversely associated with ASD prevalence.

Conclusions Maternal multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy may be inversely associated with ASD with intellectual disability in offspring. Further scrutiny of maternal nutrition and its role in the cause of autism is recommended.

Reference: BMJ 2017;359:j4273

Antidepressant use during pregnancy and psychiatric disorders in offspring: Danish nationwide register based cohort study

Objective To investigate the association between in utero exposure to antidepressants and risk of psychiatric disorders.

Design Population based cohort study.

Setting Danish national registers.

Participants 905 383 liveborn singletons born during 1998-2012 in Denmark and followed from birth until July 2014, death, emigration, or date of first psychiatric diagnosis, whichever came first. The children were followed for a maximum of 16.5 years and contributed 8.1×106 person years at risk.

Exposures for observational studies Children were categorised into four groups according to maternal antidepressant use within two years before and during pregnancy: unexposed, antidepressant discontinuation (use before but not during pregnancy), antidepressant continuation (use both before and during pregnancy), and new user (use only during pregnancy).

Main outcome measure First psychiatric diagnosis in children, defined as first day of inpatient or outpatient treatment for psychiatric disorders. Hazard ratios of psychiatric disorders were estimated using Cox regression models.

Results Overall, psychiatric disorders were diagnosed in 32 400 children. The adjusted 15 year cumulative incidence of psychiatric disorders was 8.0% (95% confidence interval 7.9% to 8.2%) in the unexposed group, 11.5% (10.3% to 12.9%) in the antidepressant discontinuation group, 13.6% (11.3% to 16.3%) in the continuation group, and 14.5% (10.5% to 19.8%) in the new user group. The antidepressant continuation group had an increased risk of psychiatric disorders (hazard ratio 1.27, 1.17 to 1.38), compared with the discontinuation group.

Conclusions In utero exposure to antidepressants was associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders. The association may be attributable to the severity of underlying maternal disorders in combination with antidepressant exposure in utero. The findings suggest that focusing solely on a single psychiatric disorder among offspring in studies of in utero antidepressant exposure may be too restrictive.

Reference: BMJ 2017;358:j3668