The effects of Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women

This research proposal has been written to show how a study into the effects of Vitamin D on pregnant women may be undertaken. This would be better as “This is important as it has recently been suggested that the recommended dosage of 10 micrograms of Vitamin D may be incorrect (NHS, 2013). This shall be considered by undertaking an empirical study into whether or not 10 micrograms of Vitamin D should be taken by women during pregnancy.

This study shall be completed by undertaking an empirical study. This will seek to ascertain if pregnant patients that take the recommended dosage of 10 micrograms attain the benefits, which are stated by the National Health Service (NHS, 2013). This could help to identify if the recent research, which has been published by the University of Bristol and the University of East Anglia, is correct. The ‘Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) – which is also known as Children of the 90s – is a long-term health research project. More than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in great detail ever since ‘ (ALSPAC, 2013).
During pregnancy, many women have been told by medical practitioners that they should take the recommended dosage of 10 micrograms of Vitamin D to ensure that their unborn chid develops strong bones and does not develop rickets (NHS, 2013). However, results from the ALSPAC longitudinal study shows that the benefits from taking Vitamin D at the recommended dosage of 10 micrograms during pregnancy may not be so beneficial (Lawlor, Wills and Fraser, 2013). This research seeks to ascertain if these claims are correct and whether or not the recommended dosage of Vitamin D needs to be changed for pregnant women.
In conjunction with the problem statement above, the following aims have been formulated:
To use available and relevant data, to investigate whether the recommended dosage of 10 micrograms for pregnant women is correct
To use the findings from the above aim to make recommendations for how the dosage needs to be altered for pregnant women.
Additionally, the following objectives have been developed:
To evaluate how a dosage of 10 micrograms of Vitamin D benefits pregnant women.
To evaluate how changing the dosage of Vitamin D benefits pregnant women.
To make recommendations for the appropriate dosage of Vitamin D which should be taken by pregnant women
The proposed outline of the dissertation is described in the next section.
To date, in the United Kingdom the National Health Service has recommended that the effects of a 10 microgram dose of vitamin D is essential to ensure that unborn children develop healthy bones. This is also supported by evidence in the existing academic literature (see as an example: Dror, 2013; Kovacs, 2008; Stephenson, 2006). Therefore, medical practitioners have advised all pregnant women that this is how what they should take during pregnancy (Bui & Christin-Maitre, 2011; NHS, 2013). However, recent research, which was published in March 2013, has contradicted this information (ALSPAC, 2013: Lawlor, Wills and Fraser, 2013).These findings need to be explored further as many other research studies have not reached these conclusions. Therefore, to seek to ensure that the correct advice is given to women who are pregnant, it is important that this study is undertaken.
In line with the findings from the literature review above, provisionally, the following research questions have been developed.
How does a dosage of 10 micrograms of Vitamin D benefits pregnant women
How does changing the dosage of Vitamin D benefit pregnant women
What is the appropriate dosage of Vitamin D, which should be taken by pregnant women
This study shall be based on a number of patient records, which shall be chosen at random. In examining the records, it is hoped that a comparison between these pregnant women that took a 10-microgram dosage, those that took other amounts and those that took nothing may be compared. Form here it will be possible to seek to understand how much Vitamin D pregnant women should be taking during their pregnancy so that new recommendations may be made if necessary.
The research philosophy, which has been adopted for this study is positivism. This will allow the empirical investigation to be undertaken and it will be derived from a critical and objective based method (Sundars, 2003).
The research approach, which has chosen for this study is quantitative in nature, as it will be based on a review of existing patient records and undertaking statistical analyses. This will allow the researcher to explore the problem, which was outlined above and to see if any new recommendations should be made to pregnant women.
The research strategy, which has been chosen for this study is a review of existing patient records. Therefore, a documentation review shall be undertaken.
The review of patient records shall be undertaken by contacting medical practitioners and patients to seek to attain permission to their records, once this has been achieved, a number of records shall be chosen at random these shall be used to collect information to investigate the research problem.
All analyses shall be based on the patient records, which are used during the data collection phase of this study. Statistical tools such as, SPSS shall be utilised to undertake analyses of the results from these patient records.
Access to this these records shall be established by contacting medical practitioners and patients, to identify patients who have been pregnant who are willing to take part in tis research.
The findings from this study should be reliable and repeatable, as patient records shall be chosen at random and empirically analysed. This will ensure that the parameters of the study are net and that the results can be generalised to wider populaces.
Issues such as, patient confidentiality and privacy shall be considered during the design and implementation of this research to seek to ensure that all participants’ details remain confidential and that they are all fully aware of the nature of the research and why it is being conducted.
As this research is based on secondary sources, the data, which is available, may limit the findings. However, if this is the case then the parameters of the study shall be re-examined to seek to ensure that these limitations are minimised where possible.
In conclusion, this study shall be undertaken by seeking to identify and critically evaluate a number of patient records. This will enable the researcher to understand how much vitamin D pregnant women should take to help to ensure that their unborn child has healthy bones. Then a number of recommendations may be made where this is appropriate.
TasksTask LeadStartEnd
Literature ReviewResearcher01/08/201329/01/2013
Write Up ResultsResearcher29/08/201330/09/2013
Write MethodologyResearcher21/09/201321/10/2013
Contact SubjectsResearcher21/10/201321/01/2014
Collate DataResearcher21/01/201421/10/2014
Examine DataResearcher21/10/201421/12/2014
Write up resultsResearcher21/12/201421/02/2015
Write discussionResearcher21/02/201521/04/2015
Write conclusionsResearcher21/04/201521/08/2015
ALSPAC (2013). Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Available from (Accessed 01/08/2013)
Bui, T., & Christin-Maitre, S. (2011, October). Vitamin D and pregnancy]. In Annales d’endocrinologie (Vol. 72, p. S23).
Dror, D. (2013). Vitamin D in pregnancy. In Handbook of vitamin D in human health (pp. 670-691). Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Kovacs, C. S. (2008). Vitamin D in pregnancy and lactation: maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes from human and animal studies. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 88(2), 520S-528S.
Lawlor DA, Wills AK, Fraser A, (2013) Association of maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy with bone-mineral content in offspring: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. Published online March 19 2013.
NHS (2013) Doubt cast on the benefit of Vitamin D during Pregnancy. Available from Accessed (01/08/2013)
NICE (2013) Vitamin D and pregnancy. Available from Accessed 01/08/2013
Saunders, M. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students. South Africa: Pearson Education.
Stephenson, J. (2006). Vitamin D and Pregnancy. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(7), 748-748.

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