Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun


Background: The incidence of Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy (HDP) is increasing in the US and is linked to serious long and short-term health problems for both mother and fetus. Vitamin D has been shown to have direct influence on molecular pathways involved in pregnancy. However a link between vitamin D status and HDP in Pregnant women has not been established.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine (1) the association between vitamin D deficiency and the occurrence of (HDP) and (2) whether non-Hispanic Black women (NHB) are at greater risk for HDP due to low vitamin D status.

Methods: Pregnant females in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study from 2001 to 2006 were used in this study. Participant’s response to interview questions and laboratory results were taken into account to determine HDP status. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between vitamin D status and HDP.

Results: Pregnant women with low vitamin D status (25(OH)D < 20ng/ml) were 1.123 (95%CI: 0.808-1.56) times more likely to have HDP compared to women who were vitamin D sufficient. This association was not significant. NHB women did not show a significant increased risk for HDP.

Conclusions: Low vitamin D status during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk for Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy. However more research on larger sample size is needed to determine the true extent of the association of vitamin D status with HDP in the general population and that of non-Hispanic Black women.