Suffering a miscarriage is devastating and difficult to understand. For so many women, there’s no rhyme or reason for why they miscarried. It can happen to anyone, at anytime. It’s chalked up to one of those things that happens that often can’t be predicted or prevented. But a new study is shedding some light on a potential cause of miscarriage in women who’ve suffered a prior loss.
Researchers have discovered a connection between vitamin D insufficiency and miscarriage in women trying to conceive after a prior loss.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health analyzed data collected for the Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGeR) trial. That trial aimed to determine if low doses of aspirin could prevent miscarriage in women with a history of pregnancy loss. Blood samples of approximately 1,200 women were tested for vitamin D levels. The blood was tested before pregnancy and in the 8th week of pregnancy. Vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter were considered low.
Women with sufficient levels of vitamin D had a lower risk of pregnancy loss.
Women with sufficient pre-pregnancy levels had a 10% higher chance of becoming pregnant. They were also 15% more likely to go on to have a live birth. When a woman became pregnant, each 10 nanogram increase in pre-pregnancy vitamin D lowered her risk of loss by 12%. Researchers don’t believe that vitamin D levels at the 8th week of pregnancy were linked to miscarriage.
The findings are important for pinpointing and perhaps preventing some causes of pregnancy loss.
More studies are needed to confirm a connection. But, says the study’s principal investigator Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., “Our findings suggest that vitamin D may play a protective role in pregnancy”. One of the most difficult parts of coming to terms with miscarriage is that it can happen for seemingly no reason. While all miscarriages can’t be attributed to a vitamin deficiency, these findings may one day bring some hope to the 15-25% of women who will suffer a pregnancy loss.
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