ShareThis Page

Pitt study: Lack of Vitamin D complicates pregnancy

| Friday, Sept. 7, 2007

The risk of preeclampsia -- a serious pregnancy complication -- increases five-fold when women are deficient in vitamin D early in pregnancy, the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences reported this morning.

"Women who developed preeclampsia had vitamin D concentrations that were significantly lower in early pregnancy compared to women whose pregnancies were normal," Lisa M. Bodnar, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, said in a news release.

Preeclampsia is marked by soaring blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet. It is the leading cause of premature delivery and maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide, projected to contribute to at least 76,000 deaths each year. It affects up to 7 percent of first pregnancies.

Bodnar and her colleagues evaluated data and banked blood samples taken from women and newborns between 1997 and 2001 at Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. Data were analyzed for 1,198 women enrolled in the Pregnancy Exposures and Preeclampsia Prevention Study. Out of this group, 55 cases of preeclampsia and 220 controls were selected for further study.

After accounting for known preeclampsia risk factors, such as race, ethnicity and pre-pregnancy body weight, Bodnar found the link between vitamin D deficiency and the five-fold increase in preeclampsia. This was despite the women reporting that they took prenatal vitamins, which contain high amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is associated with bone heath. Deficiency early in life is associated with rickets and an increased risk for type 1 diabetes, asthma and schizophrenia.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me