A new study has revealed that low vitamin D levels may result in a more painful childbirth process.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, deficiency of the vitamin is common during pregnancy, particularly among high-risk females, including members of ethnic minorities, those with low sun exposure and vegetarians.
The new study involved 93 pregnant women who had their vitamin D levels checked prior to childbirth and received an epidural during labour to ease their pain. The researchers assessed how much pain medication was required by each woman during the delivery process.
Women who had lower levels of vitamin D required more pain-relief medication than those with higher levels.
The senior author of the study, Dr Andrew Geller, who is an anaesthesiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, said that women often experience lower levels of vitamin D during pregnancy. He said it was found that those with lower levels experienced higher levels of pain during childbirth.
He added that based on these results, the treatment and prevention of low vitamin D levels during pregnancy could have a huge effect on the labour pains millions of females experience each year.
Dr Geller said the topic needs to be relooked and additional research needs to be conducted to determine how the labour experience can be improved for women worldwide.
This study is scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anaesthesiologists in New Orleans. Studies presented at these types of meetings are usually viewed as preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Image Credit: Colin Dunn