Taking supplements before conceiving could make pregnancies safer

Can vitamin D cut the risk of miscarriage? Taking supplements before conceiving could make pregnancies safer, study suggests

  • Scientific review warns vitamin D deficiency could raise the risk of a miscarriage
  • It found women deficient in the vitamin were almost twice as likely to miscarry
  • The chances are still extremely low, only affecting 15 per cent of pregnancies
  • One doctor recommends women take ‘safe and low cost’ vitamin D supplements 

A deficiency in vitamin D could raise the risk of women suffering a miscarriage, a scientific review has warned.

Around three-quarters of those in the UK who are pregnant in the winter do not have high enough levels of the nutrient.

The body creates it from direct sunlight on the skin while it is also found in a small number of foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and fortified breakfast cereals. The study has found women deficient in vitamin D have almost twice the likelihood of having a miscarriage.

However the chances of this happening will still be extremely low as miscarriages only affect around 15 per cent of pregnancies.

A study has found that pregnant women who have vitamin D deficiency are almost twice as likely to have a miscarriage(file photo)

But researchers have called for more studies to determine if taking vitamin D supplements before women conceive could make their pregnancies safer.

The review by scientists at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research in Birmingham examined ten studies looking at more than 7,600 women.

Their vitamin D level was measured and then was linked to rates of miscarriage. Researchers found women deficient in vitamin D had almost double the chance of having a miscarriage compared to those whose levels were within a healthy range.

The study also concluded those low or deficient had a 60 per cent higher chance of this happening.

Research leader Dr Jennifer Tamblyn said: ‘Vitamin D is safe and low cost so supplements are a great recommendation. Unfortunately in the UK the uptake of women taking antenatal vitamin supplements remains low at around 20 per cent.’

A lack of vitamin D may contribute towards the risk of a miscarriage as it is important in forming a healthy placenta to deliver oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby.

The report in journal Fertility and Sterility added the studies looked at were too low-quality and used too many different doses of vitamin D to determine if supplements before conceiving cut the risk of miscarriage.

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