Maternal dietary selenium intake during pregnancy is associated with higher birth weight and lower risk of small for gestational age births in the norwegian mother, father and child cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Selenium is an essential trace element involved in the body’s redox reactions. Low selenium intake during pregnancy has been associated with low birth weight and an increased risk of children being born small for gestational age (SGA). Based on data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN), we studied the association of maternal selenium intake from diet and supplements during the first half of pregnancy (n = 71,728 women) and selenium status in mid-pregnancy (n = 2628 women) with birth weight and SGA status, according to population-based, ultrasound-based and customized growth standards. An increase of one standard deviation of maternal dietary selenium intake was associated with increased birth weight z-scores (ß = 0.027, 95% CI: 0.007, 0.041) and lower SGA risk (OR = 0.91, 95% CI 0.86, 0.97) after adjusting for confounders. Maternal organic and inorganic selenium intake from supplements as well as whole blood selenium concentration were not associated with birth weight or SGA. Our results suggest that a maternal diet rich in selenium during pregnancy may be beneficial for foetal growth. However, the effect estimates were small and further studies are needed to elucidate the potential impact of selenium on foetal growth.


  • Pol Solé-Navais
  • Anne Lise Brantsæter
  • Ida Henriette Caspersen
  • Thomas Lundh
  • Louis J. Muglia
  • Helle Margrete Meltzer
  • Ge Zhang
  • Bo Jacobsson
  • Verena Sengpiel
  • Malin Barman
External organisations
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • University of Gothenburg
  • University of Cincinnati
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Birth weight, Intrauterine growth, MBRN, Medical Birth Registry of Norway, MoBa, Selenium, The Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort study
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch