December 24, 2008

Vitamin D linked to Cesarean section

Pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient are at an increased risk for delivering a baby by Cesarean section, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center said at the turn of the 20th century, women commonly died in childbirth due to rachitic pelvis, rickets of the pelvis. While rickets virtually disappeared with the discovery of vitamin D, recent reports suggest vitamin D deficiency is widespread in industrialized nations.

The researchers analyzed the relationship between maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin and the prevalence of primary Cesarean section. In total, 253 women were enrolled in this study and 17 percent had Cesarean sections.

In our analysis, pregnant women who were vitamin D deficient at the time of delivery had almost four times the odds of Cesarean birth than women who were not deficient, senior author Dr. Michael Holick and lead author Anne Merewood said in a statement.

One explanation for the findings is that vitamin D deficiency has been associated with proximal muscle weakness as well as suboptimal muscle performance and strength, Holick said.

These findings appear online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.