American Journal of Perinatology vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 469 - 476
The purpose of this study was to compare the folate and vitamin B 12 levels in pregnant and nonpregnant women to evaluate the risk for hyperhomocysteinemia and for folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies during pregnancy. Healthy pregnant women (n = 92; 24 to 28 gestational weeks; 18 to 39 years old) and nonpregnant women (n = 176; 18 to 39 years old) were sampled for serum levels of folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine. Pregnant women were less likely to have folate deficiency (8.0% versus 12.0%) but much more likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency (46.1% versus 0.6%) than nonpregnant women. Those with lower dietary vitamin intakes were more likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency. Serum folate and vitamin B12 were negatively correlated with homocysteine among pregnant women. Pregnant women with folate deficiency were more likely to have hyperhomocysteinemia than those without folate deficiency. The vitamin B 12 level associated with hyperhomocysteinemia was lower in pregnant subjects than in nonpregnant subjects in this study, indicating that pregnant women require vitamin B12 supplementation.