Introduction It is suggested that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia, insulin resistance and gestational diabetes. Experimental data demonstrate that vitamin D is important for fetal development and immunological function. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy may impair maternal skeletal preservation and fetal skeletal formation. Moreover, deficiency may affect fetal ‘imprinting’ increasing susceptibility to chronic disease later in life.
Methodology Retrospective audit of 344 patients for 2007 and 2008. All newly booked ethnic patients who attended LINK (Antenatal clinic for non-English speaking population) at Liverpool Womens Hospital were reviewed.
Standard National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that vitamin D supplementation may be given to women at greatest risk including women of South Asian, African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin.
Outcome Vitamin D levels, calcium levels, pregnancy outcomes and breastfeeding uptake.
Conclusion (1) Majority of women of Asian (not only South Asian), African and Arab countries have severe deficiency of vitamin D. (2) Chinese women presented with moderate vitamin D deficiency, although this group has not been highlighted by NICE. (3) As the majority of women (all groups) breastfeed there is a need to continue vitamin D and calcium supplementation postnatally. (4) Our results suggest that prescribing vitamin D and calcium both to pregnant and breastfeeding women from ethnic populations should take place with or without screening. (5) A randomised controlled trial is needed to clarify both the indications and benefits of vitamin D and calcium supplementation to these populations.
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