Vitamin D levels during pregnancy is important as it plays a role many physiological processes as well as infant neurodevelopment. Previous research has shown that approximately 33% of pregnant and lactating women in the United States have vitamin D insufficiency. A vitamin D deficiency can be associated with poor health outcomes such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, abnormal skeletal development, low birth weight, asthma, and prematurity.
ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY PUBLISHED EARLIER THIS WEEK INNUTRIENTS, RESEARCHERS INVESTIGATED THE EFFECT OF VITAMIN D STATUS DURING THE FIRST AND THIRD TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY ON INFANT NEURODEVELOPMENT INCLUDING LANGUAGE, COGNITIVE AND MOTOR SKILLS.
This was a large prospective longitudinal study including 793 women with an average age of 30 that were recruited before their 12th week of pregnancy. Four hundred and twenty-two mother–infant pairs were then followed up at a postpartum visit. Assessment and data collection of socio-demographic, nutritional, and psychological variables as well as vitamin D levels taken in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. At 40 days postpartum, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III was administered to the infants and numerous obstetrical data was collected.
The research team observed in the first trimester that 50.2% of the pregnant women had a vitamin D deficiency, 30.3% had a vitamin D insufficiency, and 19.5% had normal vitamin D levels. In the third trimester, 49.7% had vitamin D sufficiency, 33.2% had a vitamin D insufficiency, and 17.2% had normal vitamin D levels.
As a result, a vitamin D deficiency in the first trimester of pregnancy predicted a worse language and cognitive skills performance. Language performance worsened with lower vitamin D levels equivalent to approximately 10 ng/ml. In the third trimester, this highly deficient level was also associated with lower motor skills.
Women who are pregnant know the important of adequate folate levels and vitamin D should be no different. Vitamin D insufficiency is a worldwide major health concern. Adequate vitamin D levels during pregnancy are essential during pregnancy for optimal infant neurodevelopment.
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