Vitamin A status in pregnant women in Iran in 2001 and its relationship with province and gestational age

  • Beheshteh Olang
  • Zahra Abdollahi
  • Roshanak Neshati
  • Mohamed Atiya Ali
  • Mohsen Naghavi
  • Agneta Yngve


Background: Vitamin A deficiency is considered as one of the public health problems among pregnant women worldwide. Population representative data on vitamin A status in pregnancy have not previously been published from Iran.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to publish data on vitamin A status in pregnant women in all the provinces of Iran in 2001, including urban and rural areas, and to describe the association of vitamin A status with maternal age, gestational age, and parity.

Design: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on 3,270 healthy pregnant women from the entire country, 2,631 with gestational age ≤36 weeks, and 639 with gestational age >36 weeks. Vitamin A status was determined in serum using high-performance liquid chromatography.

Result: Retinol levels corresponding to deficiency were detected in 6.6% (<0.36 µmol/L) and 18% had insufficient vitamin A levels (≥0.36–<0.7 µmol/L). Suboptimal level of serum retinol was observed in 55.3% of the pregnant women (0.7–1.4 µmol/L). Only about 20% of the women had optimal values (>1.4 µmol/L). The level of serum retinol was lower in older pregnant women (p=0.008), and at higher gestational age (p=0.009). High vitamin A levels were observed in pregnant women in the central areas of Iran and the lowest values in those in the southern areas of Iran.

Conclusions: The vitamin A status was good in 2001 but should be closely monitored also in the future. About 25% of pregnant women had a vitamin A status diagnosed as insufficient or deficient (<0.7 µmol/L). The mean serum retinol decreased as the gestational age increased. The clinical significance of this finding should be further investigated, followed by a careful risk group approach to supplementation during pregnancy.

Keywords: retinol; insufficiency; deficiency; maternal age; gestational age

(Published: 23 September 2014)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2014, 58: 25707 -



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How to Cite
Olang B., Abdollahi Z., Neshati R., Atiya Ali M., Naghavi M., & Yngve A. (2014). Vitamin A status in pregnant women in Iran in 2001 and its relationship with province and gestational age. Food & Nutrition Research.
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