High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants of high-risk mothers

Arch Dis Child. 2007 Sep;92(9):750-3. doi: 10.1136/adc.2006.105577.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants of mothers at risk of vitamin D deficiency because of dark skin or the wearing of concealing clothes (such as a veil) compared with a group presumed not to be at risk. A second aim was to correlate these newborn infants' vitamin D concentrations with biochemical parameters of vitamin D metabolism and bone turnover at birth.

Design: A prospective study conducted between April 2004 and February 2006 including women delivering during this period and their newborn infants.

Setting: The outpatient clinic of the obstetrics department, Sint Franciscus Gasthuis, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Patients: Eighty seven newborn infants of healthy mothers with either dark skin and/or concealing clothing (risk group) or light skin (control group).

Results: We found a significant difference in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) <25 nmol/l) between newborn infants of mothers at risk and those of mothers in the control group (63.3% vs 15.8%; p<0.001). Mean alkaline phosphatase concentrations were significantly higher in the at risk group.

Conclusions: Newborn infants of mothers with dark skin or wearing concealing clothes are at great risk of vitamin D deficiency at birth. The clinical implications are unknown. Further research is necessary to determine the long-term consequences of maternal and neonatal vitamin D deficiency so that guidelines on vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy can be issued.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Netherlands / ethnology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D