Many first-time mothers want to know which supplements to take to give their developing baby the best chance at a healthy start. A new one can be added to list that has benefits for the mother as well. Researchers at the University of Southampton in England found women who took extra vitamin D during pregnancy were more likely to have a natural delivery.
Scientists studied data from the MAVIDOS trial, a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy, and published their findings in the Journal of Public Health.
The trial consisted of nearly 1,000 women who were either randomly selected to take 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day during their pregnancy or were given a placebo. They were tracked during pregnancy and through delivery.
Of the ones who took the vitamin D supplement, 65.6 percent had a spontaneous vaginal delivery, which researchers termed a “natural” delivery. That number dropped to 57.9 percent for the placebo group.
The percentage of pregnancies that resulted in a cesarean operation were slightly less among the supplement group, 21.3 percent to 22.7 percent, but 19.4 percent of the placebo group required some sort of assisted delivers compared to only 13.2 percent for the vitamin D takers.
"Most women want to have a 'natural delivery' of their baby," said Dr. Rebecca Moon, from the University of Southampton and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. "Our work suggests that taking extra vitamin D during their pregnancy might help them to achieve this.
"The women taking the extra vitamin D also had less blood loss after delivery, highlighting why this is so important,” she added. "Further evidence is now needed to more thoroughly inform public health policy and clinical practice."
The entire MAVIDOS study was focused on the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy and was a joint project between the University of Southampton and the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
"Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the UK," said Professor Nicholas Harvey. "We have also shown that extra vitamin D in pregnancy can improve the mother's vitamin D level and has benefits to their child's skeleton. Importantly, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance recommends that all pregnant women take 400 IU vitamin D per day."
"These findings add further to the knowledge generated through the MAVIDOS trial," said Professor Cyrus Cooper. "This is informing the role of vitamin D in pregnancy for offspring bone development and underlying genetic and nongenetic mechanisms."