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Adequate Vitamin D & Pregnancy

Adequate vitamin D during pregnancy improves a baby’s score on developmental tests

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At a GlanceVitamin D during pregnancy may boost a baby’s brain health, according to a new Spanish study. Read more about this research below.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, has found that when pregnant women obtain adequate vitamin D during pregnancy, their babies score higher on developmental tests when compared to those with a known vitamin D deficiency.

The researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona studied 1,820 mothers and their babies and found that babies of moms who had healthy levels of vitamin D during pregnancy scored slightly higher on standardized tests that measured mental development and psychomotor skills than babies of moms who were vitamin D deficient.

This large scale population-based cohort study recruited women during their first trimester of pregnancy. Maternal plasma vitamin D levels were measured mainly during the second trimester (from 12-23 weeks).  Using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, mental and psychomotor scores of the babies were assessed by trained psychologists at age 14 months.  Results showed a positive linear relationship between maternal vitamin D levels and developmental test scores in the babies.  In comparison with babies from mothers whose vitamin D levels were less than 20 ng/ml, babies of mothers with vitamin D levels above 30 ng/ml showed higher mental and psychomotor test scores.

Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem with serious health consequences. This research has shown that a higher circulating concentration of vitamin D during pregnancy is associated with improved mental and psychomotor development in babies. Additional studies are warranted to further assess the long-term consequences of maternal vitamin D deficiency.

Eva Morales et al.  Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 in Pregnancy and Infant Neuropsychological Development.  Pediatrics 2012;130:e913–e920.

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