Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may up preeclampsia risk

ANI| Last Updated: Jan 28, 2014, 10:14 AM IST
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Washington: A new study has revealed that women who are deficient in vitamin D in the first 26 weeks of their pregnancy may be at risk of developing severe preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a potentially life-threatening disorder diagnosed by an increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine.

In one of the largest studies to date, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health studied blood samples collected from 700 pregnant women who later developed preeclampsia in an effort to examine a woman's vitamin D status during pregnancy and her risk of developing preeclampsia.

Lead researcher Lisa Bodnar and her colleagues also studied blood samples from 3,000 mothers who did not develop preeclampsia.

Scientists controlled for factors that could have affected a woman's vitamin D status, including race, pre- pregnancy body mass index, number of previous pregnancies, smoking, diet, physical activity and sunlight exposure, which is the body's primary source of vitamin D.

The researchers found that vitamin D sufficiency was associated with a 40 percent reduction in risk of severe preeclampsia. But there was no relationship between vitamin D and mild preeclampsia .

The study was published in the journal Epidemiology.