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Association between pre-pregnancy weight status and maternal micronutrient status in early pregnancy

  • Judith M Scholing (a1) (a2), Margreet R Olthof (a2), Femkje AM Jonker (a3) and Tanja GM Vrijkotte (a1)

Inadequate maternal micronutrient status during pregnancy can lead to short- and long-term health risks for mother and offspring. The present study investigated the association between pre-pregnancy weight status and micronutrient status during pregnancy.


Maternal blood samples were collected during early pregnancy (median 13, interquartile range 12–15 weeks) and were assayed for serum folate, ferritin, Fe and vitamin B12. Regression modelling was used to assess the association between pre-pregnancy underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient levels, as well as the odds for deficiencies.


The Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) study, the Netherlands.


Women with singleton pregnancies without diabetes (n 4243).


After adjustment for covariates, overweight women and obese women had lower (β; 95 % CI) folate (−1·2; −2·2, −0·2 and −2·3; −4·0, −0·7 nmol/l, respectively) and Fe (−1·7; −2·3, −1·1 and −3·6; −4·7, −2·6 μmol/l, respectively) levels than women with normal weight. Furthermore, overweight women had 6 % (95 % CI −9, −3 %) and obese women had 15 % (−19, −10 %), lower vitamin B12 levels, and obese women had 19 % (6, 32 %) higher ferritin levels, than normal-weight women. Obese women had higher odds (OR; 95 % CI) for folate deficiency (2·03; 1·35, 3·06), Fe deficiency (3·26; 2·09, 5·08) and vitamin B12 deficiency (2·05; 1·41, 2·99) than women with normal weight. Underweight was not associated with micronutrient status.


During early pregnancy, women with pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity had lower serum folate, Fe and vitamin B12 status. This resulted in increased risk of serum folate, Fe and vitamin B12 deficiencies in women with obesity.

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