A substantial reduction in pre-term births following supplementation with vitamin D among pregnant women has been demonstrated by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The study found that maternal concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations 40ng/mL were associated with a substantial reduction in pre-term birth (PTB) risk in a large, diverse population of women.
“We found a clear association between maternal 25(OH)D concentration and PTB risk in the general obstetrical population at an urban medical centre treating a large, diverse population of women. Women with a 25(OH)D concentration of 40 ng/mL had a 62% lower risk of PTB compared to those with concentrations <20 ng/mL,” the authors reported.
“Multiple epidemiologic studies have found an association between higher maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration, the physiological measure of vitamin D status and lower PTB risk. Since PTB is the leading cause of neonatal death and multiple short and long-term health problems, it is critical to identify modifiable maternal risk factors that could significantly reduce PTB risk at the population level.”
Using the delivery data of over 1,000 women who had at least one serum 25(O)D test during pregnancy, the study found that PTB rates were 20% in women with 25(OH)D <20 ng/mL (n = 248), 12% in women with 25(OH)D 20 to <30 ng/mL (N = 267), 13% in women with 25(OH)D 30 to <40 ng/mL (n = 255) and 9% in women with 25(OH)D 40 ng/mL (n = 294).
“Among women with initial 25(OH)D concentrations <40 ng/mL, the significantly lower PTB rate (60%) for those who achieved 40 ng/mL compared to those who did not reach the target concentration on a follow-up test suggests that maternal vitamin D status is a modifiable risk factor that can be addressed during the prenatal period.
“Especially notable is the considerably lower PTB rate for those who reached 40 ng/mL versus those who did not (78%) among non-white women. This indicates that improving the vitamin D status of non-white women, who are known to have particularly low vitamin D concentrations, could dramatically decrease racial disparities in PTB rates,” the authors stated.
With these findings highlighting the importance of achieving a 25(OH)D concentration substantially above 20ng/mL for PTB prevention, the authors concluded that having a 25(OH)D concentration of at least 40 ng/mL during pregnancy could reduce PTB risk by 60 percent and that it is a safe affordable prevention tool that could be used substantially to reduce the occurrence of PTB and the heavy burden of associated morbidity, mortality and economic costs.
Source: PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180483. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180483