Scientists are to investigate whether vitamin C can prevent pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects 10 per cent of pregnant women and kills hundreds of babies each year.
There is no effective treatment for pre-eclampsia, which is caused by a defect in the placenta. Symptoms include raised blood pressure.
The three-year study at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, partly funded by the medical charity Action Research, will focus on whether women with pre-eclampsia suffer an excessive release of debris from the placenta, and whether anti- oxidants such as vitamins might prevent this.
The study's leader, Professor Christopher Redman, said: "In severe cases, doctors often have no choice but to deliver the baby early, which can give rise to premature birth complications." Up to five mothers die from pre-eclampsia each year."Reuse content