Vitamin D May Not Protect Against Dangerous Pregnancy Complications
Vitamin D May Not Protect Against Dangerous Pregnancy Complications.
Those days many mothers would not argue the use of vitamin D to help their babies during and after pregnancy. For one of the importance of vitamin D is that Vitamin D is an important part of your diet, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Proper nutrition during pregnancy is important for mother and baby.
Awareness of the importance of folic acid during pregnancy is high, with 71% of mums knowing its importance*. However, less than 30% of mums are aware of the equal importance of vitamin D, but there’s been a debate about exactly how much vitamin D pregnant women need.
A new study suggests that vitamin D may not protect against two potentially dangerous pregnancy-induced conditions: preeclampsia, a condition that involves high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine, and gestational hypertension, which is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure that does not involve high levels of protein in the urine. The findings support recent guidelines from the World Health Organization that say there isn’t enough evidence to recommend vitamin D supplements in general to pregnant women in order to prevent pregnancy complications.
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Currently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all women, including pregnant women, get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Some studies suggest that low vitamin D levels in pregnancy may raise the risk of preeclampsia, a condition in which pregnant women develop high blood pressure and have high levels of protein in their urine — a sign of kidney problems. Preeclampsia can lead to serious pregnancy complications, including reduced growth of the fetus and preterm birth, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, previous studies didn’t always consider, such as aspects other than vitamin D in a woman’s diet, may explain the link between low vitamin D levels and preeclampsia, the researchers said. In the new study, the researchers investigated whether low vitamin D levels might be a cause of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
The researchers used a different approach than previous studies did. They looked at genetic markers known to be related to people’s vitamin D levels and examined whether those genetic markers were also linked with preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. If the researchers found a link using this different (genetic) approach, it would provide more evidence that low vitamin D levels do indeed play a role in causing high blood pressure in pregnancy.
The researchers analyzed information from more than 7,000 women in two large European studies. About 750 of these women had gestational hypertension, and 135 had preeclampsia. The researchers didn’t find strong evidence of a direct, or causal, link between vitamin D levels and the development of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
The researchers said their study might not have been large enough to detect a small link between vitamin D and either of these conditions. Therefore, they called for more studies to confirm their results, to “help finally establish whether vitamin D status has a role in pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders,” the researchers wrote in the June 20 issue of the journal The BMJ.
ACOG currently doesn’t recommend vitamin D supplements for pregnant women beyond what’s included in a prenatal vitamin (which is usually 400 IU per tablet), unless a woman has a vitamin D deficiency. Good sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and fatty fish, ACOG says. The body also makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.