Objective: To determine the prevalence of vitamin-D deficiency in pregnant women and their newborns.
Method: During the period of one year (April 2004-April 2005) 545 pregnant women of Dutch/European origin and 131 pregnant women of non-Western origin (mainly Turkish and Moroccan) were studied during their 10th and/or 30th week of pregnancy for calcidiol (vitamin-D) and calcium levels. The study took place in the Amersfoort region in the center of the Netherlands. In addition, cord blood samples were taken for vitamin-D and calcium levels from the 442 and 81 Dutch/European and non-Western newborns respectively.
Results: A severe deficiency was found (calcidiol < 20 nmol/l) in 55% of non-European women compared to 5% of Dutch/West-European women. From the cord blood samples, a severe vitamin-D deficiency (calcidiol < 13 nmol/l) was found in 54% of the newborns of non-European origin compared to 6% of the Dutch/West-European newborns. Vitamin-D concentrations in pregnant women at term were strongly correlated to the concentrations in the newborns' cord blood (R = 0.84). The calcium levels of pregnant women and newborns did not differ significantly between both population groups.
Conclusion: More than half of the non-European pregnant women and their newborns had a severe vitamin-D deficiency. Screening for vitamin D deficiency and adequate suppletion for this risk group appears to be necessary. The causes and consequences of vitamin-D deficiency in pregnancy are discussed.