Implications of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and lactation

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 May;202(5):429.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Oct 20.


Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin and a key modulator of calcium metabolism in children and adults. Because calcium demands increase in the third trimester of pregnancy, vitamin D status becomes crucial for maternal health, fetal skeletal growth, and optimal maternal and fetal outcomes. Vitamin D deficiency is common in pregnant women (5-50%) and in breastfed infants (10-56%), despite the widespread use of prenatal vitamins, because these are inadequate to maintain normal vitamin D levels (>or=32 ng/mL). Adverse health outcomes such as preeclampsia, low birthweight, neonatal hypocalcemia, poor postnatal growth, bone fragility, and increased incidence of autoimmune diseases have been linked to low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and infancy. Studies are underway to establish the recommended daily doses of vitamin D in pregnant women. This review discusses vitamin D metabolism and the implications of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and lactation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation / metabolism
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium