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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pregnancy and vitamin D deficiency

It is not widely known but vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of pregnancy complications. Although there is no need to do vitamin D levels on every patient, it is prudent for all pregnant women to ensure that their diet is rich in vitamin D. Low levels are associated with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, low birth weight babies, bacterial vaginosis. Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure. However in Asia we tend not to like going out in the sun unlike westerners. Some sun exposure would be good for a pregnant woman. Other sources of vitamin D include foods such as oily fish rich in omega 3 wild salmon, a certain amount from meats such as chicken, beef and eggs. Vitamin D supplementation is usually not necessary unless there is a history of vitamin D deficiency. Excess vitamin D intake (more than 10,000 IU/day) in the form of supplements can lead to toxicity causing foetal abnormalities, kidney stones.