Vitamin C reduces risk of birth defects with nitrosatable drug use in early pregnancy

June 28, 2013
Mayura Shinde

Mayura Shinde

Taking a daily supplement that contains vitamin C during the first trimester of pregnancy while taking nitrosatable drugs – certain decongestants, antihistamines and antibiotics – can lower the odds of delivering an infant with certain birth defects among mothers who take such drugs.

Researchers from the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health incorporated data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study to assess joint exposures of nitrosatable drugs and vitamin C during the first trimester and their relation to birth defects such as limb deficiencies, oral cleft defects and congenital heart defects.  Among women who took one or more nitrosatable drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy, those who also reported taking a daily supplement that contained vitamin C had lower odds of delivering an infant with certain birth defects compared to women who did not take a daily vitamin C supplement. Previous studies have noted an association between maternal nitrosatable drug use during the first trimester and certain types of birth defects in offspring.

Ann Vuong

Ann Vuong

Doctoral students Mayura Shinde and Ann Vuong are lead authors on the recently released research study. “Prenatal exposure to nitrosatable drugs, vitamin C, and risk of selected birth defects,” was recently published in Birth Defects Research (Part A) Clinical and Molecular Teratology and is available online through the journal website.  This research is part of the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEHS) grant awarded to co-author Jean Brender, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean of research and professor of epidemiology at TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health.

Additional co-authors include Martha Werler, Katherine Kelley, Chuck Huber, Jr., Joseph Sharkey, Qi Zheng, Lucina Suarez, Peter Langlois, Mark Canfield, Paul Romitti, and Sadia Malik.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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