Low vitamin D levels common during pregnancy in Australia

January 01, 0001

Low vitamin D levels common during pregnancy in Australia

High prevalence rates of suboptimal vitamin D levels have been observed in women who are not considered ‘at risk’. The effect of behavioural factors such as sun exposure, attire, sunscreen use and vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D levels in pregnancy is unknown. The aim of the researchers from Australia was to determine prevalence and predictive factors of suboptimal vitamin D levels in 2 antenatal clinics in Australia. A cross-sectional study of pregnant women was performed with a survey of demographic and behavioural factors and a mid-pregnancy determination of maternal vitamin D levels.

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (less than or equal to 25 nmol/L) and insufficiency (26-50 nmol/L) was 35% in Canberra (n = 100) and 25.7% in Campbelltown (n = 101). The majority of participants with suboptimal D levels had vitamin D insufficiency. Among the vitamin D-deficient women, 38% were Caucasian. Skin exposure was the main behavioural determinant of vitamin D level in pregnancy in univariate analysis. Using pooled data ethnicity, season, BMI and use of vitamin D supplements were the main predictive factors of suboptimal vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation at 500 IU/day was inadequate to prevent insufficiency.

The researchers concluded: "Behavioural factors were not as predictive as ethnicity, season and BMI. As most participants had one of the predictive risk factors for suboptimal vitamin D, a case could be made for universal supplementation with a higher dose of vitamin D in pregnancy and continued targeted screening of the women at highest risk of vitamin D deficiency."

This may not be externally generalizable internationally.

For the full abstract, click here.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published online 18 May 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Vitamin D status and its predictive factors in pregnancy in 2 Australian populations. Sumathy Perampalam, Kirtan Ganda, Kerri-Anne Chow et al. Correspondence to Sumathy Perampalam: [email protected]

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional, W. Pregnancy/Childbirth/Family Planning. Keywords: predictive factors, pregnancy, screening, supplementation, vitamin D deficiency, cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 3 June 2011

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