In a new study published in Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine researchers found that severe vitamin D deficiency is very common in pregnant women and their newborns.
Vitamin D deficiency is a major health problem in certain countries with an abundance of sunlight. These countries, such as Turkey and Iran, are experiencing high rates of vitamin D deficiency due to increased time spent indoors and cultural and religious reasons, such as over-garments, that cover most of the skin.
Deficiency among pregnant women is especially serious as they need a higher vitamin D intake to maintain healthy levels for both themselves and their developing babies.
Recently, researchers measured the vitamin D levels among pregnant women and their newborns in Turkey to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and bring attention to this demographic.
They recruited 97 pregnant women for the study. The mothers’ vitamin D levels were assessed and blood samples from the umbilical cord taken after birth were used to measure the vitamin D levels of the newborns.
The researchers found that only two women had vitamin D levels above 20 ng/ml. Overall, the average vitamin D levels for the mothers and newborns was 4.97 ng/ml and 4.29 ng/ml, respectively.
“Severe vitamin D deficiency is common in reproductive women and their newborns in [low socio-economic status] cities of Turkey,” the researchers concluded.
The research team calls for vitamin D supplementation campaigns to target pregnant women and their newborns in high risk areas.