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Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of preeclampsia

February 10, 2014

According to a new US study women with low vitamin D levels in the first 26 weeks of their pregnancy may be at risk of developing severe preeclampsia, posing a high health risk to the mother and child.

The observational study analyzed blood vitamin D concentrations of 700 pregnant women who later deve- loped preeclampsia and of 3,000 mothers who did not develop a complication during pregnancy (1). The study results showed that a sufficient vitamin D level was associated with a 40% reduction in risk of severe (but not mild) preeclampsia.

The researchers commented that vitamin D has diverse functions in the body beyond maintaining bone and muscle health, including actions that may be important for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Further explo- ring the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of preeclampsia is warranted. Severe and mild preeclampsia are thought to have different root causes. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine of a pregnant woman.

References

  1. Bodnar L. M. et al. Maternal Vitamin D Status and the Risk of Mild and Severe Preeclampsia. Epidemiology. Published online January 2014.