Perinatal vitamin D and calcium status of northern Canadian mothers and their newborn infants

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):122-6. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1999.10718839.


Objective: This study was undertaken to examine the vitamin D and calcium status of mothers and their newborns.

Methods: The intakes of vitamin D and calcium were determined prenatally in 121 women including 33 Caucasians, 51 Inuits, and 37 Native Indians, living in the Inuvik zone of the Northwest Territories. Plasma concentrations of 25-(OH)-D and calcium were also measured in mothers as well as in their offspring at delivery.

Results: The daily mean vitamin D intake of native mothers, including Inuits and Indians, with (8.1+/-5.5 microg) and without supplements (3.4+/-2.5 microg) was significantly lower than that of non-native mothers (13.2+/-5.9 microg and 5.8+/-4.3 microg, respectively). According to the predicted prevalence of low vitamin D intake, there existed a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency without supplementation in both native (88.6% vs 48.4%) and non-native (63.5% vs. 15.1%) mothers. The trend for calcium intakes with and without supplementation was similar to vitamin D intake. At the point of delivery, the plasma levels of 25-(OH)-D were lower in native mothers (50.1 19.3 nmol/L) and their offspring (34.2+/-13.1 nmol/L) than their counterparts (59.8+/-29.4 nmol/L and 41.4+/-23.5 nmol/L, respectively). Its plasma levels in newborn infants averaged only 67% of their mothers. None of these infants showed clinical evidence of vitamin D deficiency. In fact, their plasma calcium levels were significantly higher than their mothers.

Conclusions: Plasma 25-(OH)-D concentrations of 60 to 70% of maternal levels may represent a "normal" range for newborn infants. However, a supplementation in native northern Canadian mothers during pregnancy and in their neonates during infancy may have a role to play in the prevention of vitamin D deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reference Values
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Whites


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcifediol
  • Calcium