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Maternal selenium deficiency during gestation is positively associated with the risks for LBW and SGA newborns in a Chinese population



Maternal selenium (Se) deficiency is associated with some adverse pregnant outcomes. However, it remains controversial whether maternal Se deficiency during gestation enhances the risks for low-birth-weight (LBW) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) newborns.


For our cohort study, total 3133 mother-and-infant pairs were selected. Maternal serum Se concentration was detected by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. According to international references for maternal serum Se concentration, subjects were divided into Se deficiency (<45.0 μg/L), Se insufficiency (45.0-94.9 μg/L) and Se sufficiency (≥95.0 μg/L).


There was a positive relation of maternal serum Se concentration in gestation and neonatal birth weight. Further analysis showed that the risks for LBW and SGA in SD group were significantly higher than that in SI and SS group, the adjusted ORs for LBW and SGA newborns were 1.87 (95%CI: 1.02, 3.45; P = 0.04) and 1.47 (95%CI: 1.07, 2.02; P = 0.02) in SI group, and 3.92 (95%CI: 2.03, 7.57; P < 0.001) and 2.77 (95%CI: 1.92, 4.02; P < 0.001) in SD group compared to SS group. In different gender subgroup, positive relations were observed between maternal Se deficiency and the risk for LBW girls, as well as the risks for both SGA girls and boys.


Maternal Se deficiency in gestation was positively associated with the risk for LBW girls, as well as the risks for both SGA girls and boys.

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This work was supported by NSFC (81473016 and 81630084), Key Projects of outstanding Youth Talent Support Program in Anhui Provincial University (gxyqZD2016056), and Young Scholars of Wan Jiang in Anhui Province, and National Key Technology R&D Program (2006BAI05A03).

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HW and F-BT designed the research; XZ, Y-JF, and JL performed as measurement, HW, XZ, J-HH, and PZ analyzed data; HW wrote the manuscript; D-XX revised the manuscript. All authors have approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Fang-Biao Tao or Hua Wang.

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All authors disclose no conflicts of interest. The funders had no role in the research design, implementation, analysis or interpretation of the data.

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Zhang, X., Feng, YJ., Li, J. et al. Maternal selenium deficiency during gestation is positively associated with the risks for LBW and SGA newborns in a Chinese population. Eur J Clin Nutr 75, 768–774 (2021).

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