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Vitamin D Deficiency May Cause Complications in Pregnancy

Katlyn Joy | 3, April 2013


Researchers have found correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and low birth weight in babies according to a new report published March 26 in the online BMJ or British Medical Journal.

Researchers looked at studies on Vitamin D and pregnancy between the years of 1980 and 2012, totaling 31 studies. Women in each study numbered between 95 and over 1,000.

The findings overall indicated an increase in pre-eclampsia, a condition where the mother's blood pressure is raised and protein is found in her urine, and gestational diabetes as well as low birth weight offspring.

Researchers found the results alarming as the high likelihood of Vitamin D deficiency among large groups of pregnant mothers including vegetarians, those who have limited dairy intake, as well as those with darker skin and/or limited sun exposure.

The body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight and it can be supplemented through diet especially of dairy products and certain types of foods such as fish. Milk is also fortified with Vitamin D.

A year ago the United Kingdom's chief medical officers recommended that all pregnant women should be given Vitamin D supplements in order to combat the high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency among them as a means of preventing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Other researchers have advised that a combination of sunlight exposure, supplementation and dietary measures should be undertaken together to prevent such problems as well as those of pre-clampsia and gestational diabetes and low birth weight babies.

However, it is agreed that a large well controlled study needs to be done to look in depth at the problems and risks associated with low Vitamin D levels in pregnant women.

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