Experts have advised pregnant women to undergo test for vitamin D deficiency after a new research strongly linked low vitamin D levels to gestational diabetes.
The research issued in the Medical Journal of Australia has warned that babies born to the mothers with deficiency likely to give birth to babies with weaker bones.
AdvertisementResearchers studied 147 women who attended Westmead Hospital's gestational diabetes clinic between February 2007 and February 2008, excluding those with known pre-pregnancy glucose intolerance.
More than 40 per cent of the women were found to have inadequate vitamin D levels. Lau and colleagues found that while low levels were more common in women with darker skin, more than 25% of women in all groups were deficient.
"Vitamin D insufficiency has a well established impact on bone density, neonatal vitamin D and calcium status, and childhood rickets (soft or weak bones)".
"The 41 per cent prevalence of inadequate 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels in women with GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus) in our study is unacceptable and identifies vitamin D insufficiency as an issue of public health significance," Dr Gunton said.
The researchers recommended that further research into the potential link between vitamin D status and gestational diabetes be conducted.
In an accompanying editorial, Professor Peter Ebeling from the University of Melbourne at Western Health suggested scheduling of lower-cost, higher-dose vitamin D supplements be altered so that more women could afford them.
"Those pregnant and breastfeeding women that are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency are often the least likely to be able to afford supplements," Professor Ebeling said.
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.