Vitamin D Lowers Miscarriage Risk

Some time back, Smitha had related her harrowing experience of a missed abortion / miscarriage in the post "Are headaches in early pregnancy a sign of miscarriage?"  She also wondered what could possibly cause miscarriage - low progesterone, chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, environment in the uterus not favourable for foetal growth. or something else.

Smitha had conceived through assisted reproductive method, IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) and was eagerly waiting to hold her baby in her arms after the completion of nine months!

Alas, but destiny had other plans for her and she lost her baby in her 17th week or pregnancy and she had to go through severe depression for several months. Do read Top home-remedies after miscarriage.

Pre-conception Vitamin D Levels Matter

Now what reminded me of the devastating miscarriage of Smitha?  I was perusing through some health news sites when I came across this news headline which read "Vitamin D May Lower Miscarriage Risk.".

Among women planning to conceive after a pregnancy loss, those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D were more likely to become pregnant and have a live birth, compared to women with insufficient levels of the vitamin, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

"Our findings suggest that vitamin D may play a protective role in pregnancy," said the study's principal investigator Sunni L. Mumford.

The authors note that a few studies have shown that women who have higher levels of vitamin D before undergoing in vitro fertilization have higher pregnancy rates than those with lower levels.

However, little research has been done on pregnancy rates and pregnancy loss in women attempting to conceive without assisted reproductive technologies.

Women who had sufficient preconception vitamin D concentrations were 10 percent more likely to become pregnant and 15 percent more likely to have a live birth, compared to those with insufficient concentrations of the vitamin. Among women who became pregnant, each 10 nanogram per milliliter increase in preconception vitamin D was associated with a 12-percent lower risk of pregnancy loss.

The authors note that the study does not prove cause and effect. Additional studies are needed to determine whether providing vitamin D to women at risk for pregnancy loss could increase their chances for pregnancy and live birth.

Vitamin D - hope for infertile women

Only those who have suffered a miscarriage,  irrespective of how early they were in their pregnancy--  know how devastating it is to lose one's baby! Fear and anxiety of losing subsequent pregnancies looms large and more so for those women who are struggling to get pregnant through IUI or IVF procedures.

The above mentioned study isn't very conclusive and it certainly doesn't say that low levels of vitamin D is the sole cause of a missed abortion. However it definitely provides a ray of hope for infertile women who are trying to conceive after repeated losses.

If taking something as innocuous as an additional  vitamin D pill few months prior to conception can possibly decrease a woman's risk of miscarriage and help her carry a full term pregnancy, then why shouldn't women give it a try?

Sunlight boosts women's fertility

Earlier studies have also shown that exposure to sunlight boosts the fertility of women and improves IVF live birth rates; but it is the weather a month before conception that is key, not the weather at the time. Although this particular study was completed with IVF patients, Dr Vandekerckhove, the lead author mentioned that this could easily be applied to women who want to get pregnant naturally.

Another recent study has found that women who took high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy had children with stronger bones.

Most experts recommend that pregnant women take a daily supplement of 400 units of vitamin D.

About 7 percent of children whose mothers took the high dose suffered bone fractures through age 6, compared with 11 percent in the placebo group.

High doses had no effect on birth weight, or on the height or weight of the 6-year-old children.

Final Thoughts

I don't know if Smitha's pre-conception vitamin D levels were less ; most probably her gynaecologist hadn't checked it. I also don't know if she has conceived again and given birth as she hasn't contacted me again. However I wish the best for her.

And for all those women who are trying to conceive through IVF, do talk to your doctor / IVF specialist about checking your vitamin D levels and prescribing vitamin pills months before conceiving.

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1 comment:

  1. Dr Roopali2:34 PM

    Vitamin D is necessary for the synthesis and metabolism of the reproductive hormones estrogen and testosterone. higher blood levels of vitamin D can improve glycemic control and insulin resistance in women with PCOS, decrease inflammation in women with endometriosis and is associated with better IVF outcomes


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