Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) concentrations are thought to accurately reflect vitamin D stores, and vitamin D deficiency causes secondary hyperparathyroidism, irreversible bone loss, and increased risk of fracture. Recent studies suggest that decrease of serum 25-OHD level in mothers could increase the risk of preeclampsia, cesarean section, and craniotabes. Furthermore, this deficiency may affect bone mass and the incidence of neuromuscular diseases of their children in the future. In the present study, the serum concentration of 25-OHD in 93 pregnant women after the 30th week of their gestation was determined by direct radioimmunoassay. Mean 25-OHD levels in spring, summer, fall, and winter were 14.3 ± 5.1, 15.7 ± 6.4, 13.7 ± 5.1, and 13.9 ± 4.2 ng/ml, respectively. Severe vitamin D deficiency (25-OHD< 10 ng/ml) was found in 10 of these 93 women. Overall, hypovitaminosis D, which was defined as serum 25-OHD concentration equal to or less than 20 ng/ml, was revealed in 85 mothers (89.5%). Serum 25-OHD levels were not associated with either intact parathyroid hormone or corrected calcium concentrations, but were negatively associated with serum type I collagen N-terminal telopeptide and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase in these subjects. Mothers with threatened premature delivery had significantly lower 25-OHD levels (11.2 ± 3.2 ng/ml) than those in mothers with normal delivery (15.6 ± 5.1 ng/ml). In conclusion, the present data suggest a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in perinatal pregnant Japanese women throughout the year, which seems to affect bone metabolism and to be associated with threatened premature delivery.
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