Patients with lower levels of vitamin D consumed more pain medication than their more vitamin D–sufficient counterparts
Several studies have already noted that vitamin D–deficient people experience more depression and more intense pain, but a study on pregnant women found that expectant mothers with low vitamin D levels experience worse pain during labour.
The study, presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA), in October 2014, is the first to investigate whether vitamin D–deficient women consume more pain medication during childbirth.
According to the study, pregnant women generally have lower levels of vitamin D compared with non-pregnant women. With this information in mind, researchers decided to track pain tolerance during childbirth.
To do so, they measured the vitamin D levels of 93 pregnant women prior to delivery. All of the women requested an epidural for pain during labour. Researchers measured how much pain medication each woman required during labour and then compared the quantity of pain medicine used by the women with lower levels of vitamin D with those women whose levels were higher.
Simply put, the study found that the patients with lower levels of vitamin D consumed more pain medication than their more vitamin D–sufficient counterparts.
Although this assertion is considered preliminary until the study’s results are published in a peer-reviewed journal, it introduces the intriguing idea that increasing pregnant women’s vitamin D intake may significantly alleviate their labour pain.