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.
Researchers 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
"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.