There is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy, particularly among Black women
By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, April 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Lower gestational 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations are associated with later behavioral problems in offspring, according to a study published online April 4 in the Journal of Nutrition.
Melissa M. Melough, Ph.D., from the University of Delaware in Newark, and colleagues examined the relationship between gestational 25(OH)D concentrations and childhood behavior. The analysis included mother-child dyads (early childhood [1.5 to 5 years], 1,688 dyads; middle childhood [6 to 13 years], 1,480 dyads) participating in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Program.
The researchers found that approximately 45 percent of mothers were vitamin D-deficient (25(OH)D <20 ng/mL), with Black women overrepresented in this group. Prenatal or cord blood 25(OH)D concentrations were negatively associated with externalizing behavior T-scores in middle childhood (â0.73 lower externalizing behavior T-score per 10-ng/mL increase in gestational 25[OH]D) in an adjusted analysis. The effect was not modified by race. For early childhood outcomes, 25(OH)D was only negatively associated with externalizing and total behavioral problems in an analysis restricted to those with 25(OH)D assessed in prenatal maternal samples versus cord blood concentrations. Overall, vitamin D deficiency also appeared to be tied to lower maternal educational attainment, prepregnancy obesity, prenatal tobacco use, and higher parity.
“This study confirmed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy, particularly among Black women, and revealed evidence of an association between lower gestational 25(OH)D and childhood behavioral problems. Associations were more apparent in analyses restricted to prenatal rather than cord blood samples,” the authors write. “Interventions to correct vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy should be explored as a strategy to improve childhood behavioral outcomes.”
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