Jump to Main Content
Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and Its Associations with Skin Color in Pregnant Women in the First Trimester in a Sample from Switzerland
- Richard, Aline, Rohrmann, Sabine, Quack Lötscher, Katharina C.
- Nutrients 2017 v.9 no.3
- blood serum, body mass index, cohort studies, color, confidence interval, counseling, glucose, issues and policy, melanin, models, nationalities and ethnic groups, pregnancy, pregnant women, vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency, vitamin status, vitamin supplements, Switzerland
- Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy has negative clinical consequences, such as associations with glucose intolerance, and has been shown to be distributed differently in certain ethnic groups. In some countries, a difference in the rate of vitamin D deficiency was detected in pregnant women depending on their skin color. We examined the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/mL) in women in early pregnancy in Switzerland and evaluated the association of skin color with vitamin D deficiency. In a single-center cohort study, the validated Fitzpatrick scale and objective melanin index were used to determine skin color. Of the 204 pregnant women included, 63% were vitamin D deficient. The mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was 26.1 ng/mL (95% confidence interval (CI) 24.8–27.4) in vitamin D–sufficient women and 10.5 ng/mL (95% CI 9.7–11.5) in women with deficiency. In the most parsimonious model, women with dark skin color were statistically significantly more often vitamin D deficient compared to women with light skin color (OR 2.60; 95% CI 1.08–6.22; adjusted for age, season, vitamin D supplement use, body mass index, smoking, parity). This calls for more intense counseling as one policy option to improve vitamin D status during pregnancy, i.e., use of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy, in particular for women with darker skin color.