There is a link between maternal vitamin D deficiency and adverse health outcomes, according to the latest systematic review and meta-analysis published in British Medical Journal.
Researchers from the University of Calgary collected data from 31 studies published between 1980 and 2012 with 95 to 1,100 participants.
The authors found that pregnant women with low vitamin D levels were more likely to develop gestational diabetes, had an increased risk of preeclampsia, and were more likely to give birth to a baby small for gestational age. The authors did not find a significant association between birth length and head circumference. Pregnant women with low vitamin D had an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis.
The authors express their concern over the findings given recent research which suggests that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is quite common, especially among those who avoid sun exposure and women who have darker skin. They recommend that healthcare providers should be recommending pregnant women to follow current guidelines in supplementing with vitamin D. “While this would seem to be a simple directive, there is active debate on what is considered the appropriate intake of vitamin D in pregnancy, as the recommended intake… varies from 600 to 2000 IU/day,” they explain.
The authors call for large, well designed randomized controlled trials to determine whether vitamin D supplementation is effective in improving pregnancy and neonatal outcomes.
Aghajafari F, Nagulesapillai T, Ronksley PE, Tough SC, O’Beirne M, Rabi DM. Association between maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and pregnancy and neonatal outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. British Medical Journal. March 26, 2013.