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Vitamin D supplements it appears may help pregnant women. According to a randomized controlled analysis, taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may not just be safe for mother and baby but could also keep preterm labor/births and infections at bay.

Apparently in the 1950s and 60s, individuals were anxious that vitamin D could probably cause birth defects. This was revealed by lead author of the study, Carol L. Wagner, MD and a pediatric researcher at Medical University of South Carolina. Nevertheless, it now appears that vitamin D could be important for maternal and infant health. This includes bone health and immune function. In fact recent findings appear to indicate that deficiency of vitamin D in the course of pregnancy could be a serious public health issue.

“Diet doesn’t provide enough vitamin D, and we don’t go in the sun as much as we need,” Dr. Wagner mentioned.

Hence along with her colleagues counting Bruce W. Hollis, PhD, who has worked in the field of vitamin D research for the last 30 years, the author set out to ascertain the optimal dose of vitamin D supplements for pregnant women that may not cause harm. 494 pregnant women at 12-16 weeks’ gestation were randomized into three treatment groups for this purpose. While group one was given 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until delivery; group two and group three received 2,000 IU and 4,000 IU respectively. The women were then analyzed carefully monthly to ensure safety.

“No adverse events related to vitamin D dosing were found in any of the three arms of the study,” Dr. Wagner said.

The effects of vitamin D supplementation on complications during pregnancy were also looked into. This included preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, and preterm labor and birth.

“The spectacular part of the study was it showed women replete in vitamin D had lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth, and lower rates of infection,” Dr. Wagner added.

Reportedly, the greatest effects were observed among the women who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Hence the scientists suggest that pregnant women follow this daily regimen.

The two parts of the study will be discussed by Dr. Wagner in separate presentations. While the outcomes of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy will be presented on May 1, the safety of vitamin D supplementation will be presented on May 2.