Vitamin D and its role during pregnancy in attaining optimal health of mother and fetus

Nutrients. 2012 Mar;4(3):208-30. doi: 10.3390/nu4030208. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


Despite its discovery a hundred years ago, vitamin D has emerged as one of the most controversial nutrients and prohormones of the 21st century. Its role in calcium metabolism and bone health is undisputed but its role in immune function and long-term health is debated. There are clear indicators from in vitro and animal in vivo studies that point to vitamin D's indisputable role in both innate and adaptive immunity; however, the translation of these findings to clinical practice, including the care of the pregnant woman, has not occurred. Until recently, there has been a paucity of data from randomized controlled trials to establish clear cut beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy. An overview of vitamin metabolism, states of deficiency, and the results of recent clinical trials conducted in the U.S. are presented with an emphasis on what is known and what questions remain to be answered.

Keywords: calcitriol; cholecalciferol; neonate; pregnancy; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune System / metabolism
  • Maternal Welfare
  • Parathyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Sunlight
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D