Calcium and vitamin D nutrition during pregnancy: a survey of family physicians and a chart review of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus

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Rogers, Colleen Kem
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Introduction: Adequate calcium and vitamin D are needed for maternal and fetal health. Many pregnant women are not consuming enough calcium and are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency. Objectives: To 1) investigate the nutrition-related knowledge, opinions, and clinical practices of family physicians (FPs) towards prenatal calcium and vitamin D; and 2) determine the prevalence of meeting a predefined cut-off serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration ([25-OHD]) for vitamin D sufficiency (≥ 75 nmol/L) in a cohort of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Methods: Part 1: 500 surveys were mailed out to randomly selected FPs across Manitoba. Part 2: data were collected via retrospective chart review of 35 pregnant women with GDM attending a teaching hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013 and having one serum [25-OHD] measurement during their pregnancy. Results: Approximately one-third of FPs are discussing calcium and vitamin D requirements and supplements with their prenatal patients. The top three perceived barriers to delivery of calcium and vitamin D advice were more urgent issues, lack of time, and forgetting to do so. The mean serum [25-OHD] was 52.5 ± 24.1 nmol/L (range 14-109 nmol/L). Over half of women (51.4%) were vitamin D deficient ([25-OHD] < 50 nmol/L), and 28.6% of women were insufficient ([25-OHD] 50-74 nmol/L). Conclusions: Physicians would benefit from more training in nutrition. Multiple barriers exist that prevent FPs from providing calcium and vitamin D advice. Women with GDM have a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in our study.
Vitamin D, Calcium, Pregnancy, Gestational diabetes mellitus, Manitoba