Introduction Neonatal hypocalcemia is a potentially life-threatening condition, with reported prevalence varying by gestational age, maternal and infant comorbidities, and perinatal factors.
Objectives Because of the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women (60%) in Qatar we measured serum Ca in a random sample of newborns admitted to the neonatal unit in HMC for 6 consecutive months and correlated seum calcium level to gestational age, birth weight, length and head circumference, and mothers’ weight.
Results (Table) : The incidence of hypocalcemia in our preterm and full term neonates was significantly higher (3%) compared to those reported in the literature. There was no statistical difference in the incidence of hypocalcemia between term and preterm groups. Serum Ca was correlated significantly with birth wt, length, BMI and head circumference (r = 0.26, 0.25, 0.32, 0.25 respectively, p < 0.05).
Discussion Despite high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women in Qatar (60%) early neonatal hypocalcemia was detected only in 3% of both term and preterm newborns. These findings point out to a well-functioning adaptation mechanism that prevents hypocalcemia in newborns to mothers with hypovitaminosis D.
Conclusion This high incidence of neonatal hypocalcemia necessitates vitamin D supplementation to pregnant women in this population with high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.