Title: Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnant women
Authors: Harleen Kaur, Amarjeet Singh Bhatia
Vitamin D is not only a lipid soluble vitamin, but also a steroid hormone that can be synthesized endogenously in the skin by exposure to sunlight and its deficiency is known to be involved in impairment of immune function, predisposition to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatic disease, muscle weakness, chronic pain and neuropsychiatric dysfunction in addition to disturbed calcium and phosphorous homeostasis. Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy especially among high risk groups like vegetarians, women with limited sun exposure like those living in cold climates, residing in northern latitudes, or wear sun and winter protecting clothings and ethnic minorities especially those with darker skin. It is an important risk factor for infantile rickets, poor fetal growth and neonatal development. In addition, vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women may predispose to gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The present study was undertaken with the aim to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. A total of 120 pregnant women were screened for Vitamin D (25 –OH D), out of this 52 (43.3 %) were having Vitamin D levels below 20 ngm/ml, 41 (34.1%) and 27 (22.5%) had levels between 20–30 ngm/ml and above 30 ngm/ml respectively. The study showed alarming high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy pregnant women and undermines the need to carry further research in this area.