Moms with Vitamin D deficiency had Lower Birth Weight Newborns

Stethoscope - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Women who had deficient levels of vitamin D early on during their pregnancy were at an increased risk for having a baby with a lower birth weight. The study results will be reported in the January print edition and online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburg Graduate School Of Public Health. Lead author, Alison Gernand, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., post-doctoral associate in Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, explained that being deficient in vitamin D during the first trimester put the fetus at twice the risk of restricted growth during the pregnancy.

The researchers only investigated mothers that delivered full-term babies. Their findings showed that expecting mothers with vitamin D levels less that 0.015 parts per million (37.5 nmol/L) during the first 26 weeks gave birth to babies that weighed an average of 46 grams less than moms that had adequate vitamin D levels.

Women that were vitamin D deficient during the first 14 weeks had twice the chance of giving birth to a baby in the lower 10th percentile for weight compared to other babies.

This ranking in the lower 10th percent is termed “small for gestational age.” The babies that are born small for gestational age are at a five to ten-times higher chance of dying during their first month of life, and they are also at an increased risk of suffering chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Senior author, Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor at Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, said this was the largest study to investigate pregnant mothers and vitamin D levels, and how it relates to the babies weight at birth. Clinical trials should be conducted to see if vitamin D supplements given to women during their reproductive years would improve the weight of newborns, Bodnar adds.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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