Muslim women who wear the burqa in Ireland are at increased risk of pelvic fractures during childbirth because of vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of sunlight, a consultant warns.
Babies born to women with vitamin D deficiency are also more prone to seizures in their first week of life, according to Dr Miriam Casey, of the Osteoporosis Unit in St James's hospital in Dublin.
A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by some Muslim women. In hot countries, enough sunlight gets through to give them sufficient vitamin D, but this may not happen in countries where there is limited sunshine, such as Ireland and Britain.
Casey said she was aware of cases involving pelvic fractures, and warned that these could become more frequent as Ireland's Muslim population increased. "Ireland's temperate climate doesn't have the intense sunlight that keeps burqa-clad women from becoming vitamin D-deficient in their own countries," she said.