Link between lack of Vitamin D and miscarriage risk
Tommy’s charity scientists to look into whether a supplement before pregnancy could lower the risk
Research into the link between a deficiency in Vitamin D and miscarriage has been carried out recently by scientists at the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research in Birmingham.
The results were published in the journal Fertility and Sterility on 28 May and analysed all studies conducted by other research teams.
In the research, it was evaluated whether these studies found a significant association between Vitamin D levels and the risk of miscarriage or recurrent miscarriage.
The review found that women with low Vitamin D levels are at significantly increased risk of miscarriage.
As part of the research, the authors also looked into whether treating Vitamin D deficiency before conceiving could protect against pregnancy loss in women who were at risk of miscarriage. The investigation also probed into the timing of Vitamin D assessment and treatment or the dose and whether it affected miscarriage risk.
Authors were unable to confirm that Vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of miscarriage due to the limited number of studies on this topic.
Tommy’s recommend that future Vitamin D studies investigate whether supplement treatment helps to protect against pregnancy loss by enhancing Vitamin D levels before conception.
Lead author Dr Jennifer Tamblyn, who is based at the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research said: “We know Vitamin D is essential for bone development in the developing baby. The placenta also produces large amounts of the active form of vitamin D. There is research showing an important role for Vitamin D in early pregnancy, including regulation of maternal-fetal immune responses and blood vessel development, which are important for a healthy pregnancy.”
She continued: “Vitamin D is safe and low cost, so from a public health approach supplements are a great recommendation. Unfortunately, we know that in the UK the uptake of women and pregnant people taking antenatal vitamin supplements remains low at around 20%.
“Vitamin D has only really been known for its role in late pregnancy complications but our review supports another important role for it too, which could help encourage women about the benefits of taking supplements early.
“We believe that more research is needed so healthcare practitioners have a clearer, evidence-based strategy for recommending Vitamin D supplementation to pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy.”
The importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital for everyone, and is essential in pregnancy, as it boosts bone health, baby’s teeth and muscle development. Deficiency in the vitamin is common in many people and in particular pregnant women. Therefore, taking a supplement is recommended for pregnant women.
Low levels of Vitamin D are also linked to other serious pregnancy problems, including problems conceiving and pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and preterm birth. Research has shown that taking a low dose vitamin D supplement can help reduce the risk of these conditions.