Vitamin D Deficiencies Widespread Among Pregnant Women and Infants Despite Prenatal Vitamin Usage
Posted Aug 19 2007 12:00am
Even among those taking prenatal multivitamin supplements, vitamin D levels were found to be insufficient or deficient in pregnant women, particularly in African-American women and women living in northern regions, according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers took blood samples from 400 pregnant women – 200 black women and 200 white women – before 22 weeks gestation and again after delivery.
More than 80% of African American women and nearly half of white women tested at delivery had levels of vitamin D that were insufficient, even though more than 90% of them used prenatal vitamins during pregnancy.
In addition, umbilical cord blood from newborns showed 92.4% of African American babies and 66.1% of white infants had insufficient vitamin D levels at birth, leaving them at risk for rickets and other health problems. A newborn relies completely on its mother for its vitamin D stores.
These results suggest that black and white pregnant women and newborns residing in the northern US are at high risk of vitamin D insufficiency, even when mothers regularly take prenatal vitamins. Higher-dose supplementation is needed to improve maternal and infant vitamin D status.