Individualized vitamin D supplement doses can help protect pregnant women from vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The research found that vitamin D supplement is less effective in pregnant women if they deliver their babies in the winter, have low levels of vitamin D early in pregnancy or gain more weight during pregnancy.
Women with these risk factors may need higher doses during pregnancy than other mothers-to-be.
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body absorb calcium. It plays a crucial role in bone and muscle health.
The skin naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. People also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is common, including among pregnant women. Evidence suggests vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can harm maternal health, fetal development and the child’s long-term skeletal health.
Therefore, it is critical for pregnant women to have sufficient levels of vitamin D for the health of their baby.
In the paper, researchers suggest that in order to optimize vitamin D concentrations through pregnancy, the supplemental dose given may need to be tailored to a woman’s individual circumstances, such as the anticipated season of delivery.
Researchers found women who delivered in the summer, who gained less weight during pregnancy and who had higher vitamin D levels early in pregnancy tended to have higher levels of vitamin D in the blood than their counterparts.
Women who consistently took the supplement also had higher levels of vitamin D than participants who did not.
These findings of varied responses to vitamin D supplement according to individual attributes can be used to tailor approaches to prenatal care.
This work will inform the development of strategies to enhance bone development across generations.
Citation: Moon RJ, et al. (2016). Determinants of the Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D Response to Vitamin D Supplementation during Pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published online, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2016-2869.
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