Antioxidants are important in maintaining cellular function in normal pregnancy and are needed for mitigating the effects of oxidative stress. However, there is paucity of information on the importance of antioxidants in pregnant adolescents. This study was therefore aimed at assessing maternal antioxidant micronutrient status and its impact on pregnancy outcomes in Ghanaian pregnant adolescents.
A prospective cohort study design was used to assess the antioxidant micronutrient status of 100 pregnant adolescents aged 11 to 19 years, attending antenatal clinic at the Mampong and Suntreso Government hospitals between March and November, 2014. Two 24hr recalls and a food frequency questionnaire were used to assess dietary antioxidant micronutrient (Vitamin A, E, C, Zinc and Selenium) intakes of study participants. Biochemical status was assessed by measurement of serum Vitamin A, zinc and selenium using standardized methods. Pregnancy outcomes were obtained from hospital records after parturition.
The mean intakes of Vitamin A (246.86±26.80mcg/d), E (7.32±0.46mg/d) and zinc (7.56±0.42mg/d) of participants during the study were below the RDA for the nutrients. The mean serum concentrations of Vitamin A (22.64±1.78µg/dl) and zinc (137.43±25.27) were found to be higher than reference values. However, with a mean concentration of 63.20±13.58µg/dl, serum selenium deficiency was observed in 74% of the participants. The mean birth weight and gestational age of the study population was 2.89±0.05kg and 38.23±1.06 weeks, respectively. Twenty-three percent (23%) of the babies were born with low birth weight. Further statistical analysis revealed no association between the antioxidant micronutrient status and birth weight and gestation age.
No association was found between the antioxidant micronutrient status and pregnancy outcomes among Ghanaian pregnant adolescents. However, larger epidemiological studies and intervention trials are required to reinforce or refute the beneficial role of antioxidant micronutrient on pregnancy outcomes.