Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women from a non-European ethnic minority population--an interventional study

BJOG. 2002 Aug;109(8):905-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01171.x.


Objective: To determine the vitamin D status of pregnant women from non-European ethnic minorities in South Wales.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, South Wales.

Sample: One hundred and sixty pregnant women from a non-European ethnic minority population in South Wales.

Methods: Biochemical screening of vitamin D status was carried out at the first antenatal visit. Women found to be deficient in vitamin D were subsequently supplemented and vitamin D status was rechecked at delivery.

Main outcome measure: Vitamin D status at delivery.

Results: Eighty of 160 women had a vitamin D level below 8 ng/mL at their first antenatal visit and were treated with oral vitamin D. Factors that could influence vitamin D status such as religion, fluency in English and dressing habits did not appear to have any effect, although a higher proportion of women who had lived in Britain for longer than three years had subnormal vitamin D levels. In 58 of those checked at delivery, the mean plasma vitamin D level increased from 6 to 11 ng/mL although the mean parathyroid hormone level was unchanged.

Conclusion: In view of the high incidence of subnormal vitamin D levels in women from ethnic minorities, we recommend biochemical screening of these women in early pregnancy, with subsequent supplementation where indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology*
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • West Indies / ethnology