Periconceptional intake of vitamins and fetal death: A cohort study on multivitamins and folate

Ellen A. Nohr, Jorn Olsen, Bodil H. Bech, Lisa M. Bodnar, Sjurdur F. Olsen, Janet M. Catov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Women planning to conceive are often advised to take multivitamins. Whether this affects the survival of the fetus is not known.

Methods We used data from 35 914 women in the Danish National Birth Cohort who at recruitment had reported the number of weeks of supplement use during a 12-week periconceptional period. A telephone interview provided information about maternal characteristics and data on fetal death came from registers. The associations between periconceptional multivitamin or folate-only use and early (
Results Any multivitamin use was associated with a small increased crude risk of fetal death [HR 1.12 (1.01–1.25)], which was restricted to early losses [HR 1.18 (1.05–1.33)] compared with late losses [HR 0.82 (0.62–1.10)]. Adjustment for maternal factors increased this excess risk further. Whereas regular users of multivitamins (4–6 weeks of 6) before conception had more early losses [HR 1.29 (1.12–1.48)], a decreased risk of late losses was indicated when use started after conception [HR 0.65 (0.39–1.09)]. Folate-only use was not associated with fetal death.

Conclusions Multivitamin use was associated with a modest increased risk of early fetal death. For late fetal death, regular supplement use after conception may decrease risk, but numbers were small. Further studies on preconceptional multivitamin use are needed to guide public health recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cohort study
  • Dietary supplements
  • Fetal death
  • Folic acid
  • Multivitamins
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Stillbirth


Dive into the research topics of 'Periconceptional intake of vitamins and fetal death: A cohort study on multivitamins and folate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this