Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: Updated meta-analysis on maternal outcomes

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Nov;164:148-155. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.02.008. Epub 2016 Feb 11.


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent during pregnancy. It has been suggested that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of adverse gestational outcomes.

Objectives: To update a previous meta-analysis on the effects of oral vitamin D supplementation (alone or in combination with other vitamins and minerals) during pregnancy on maternal 25(OH)D levels and risk of developing pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, impaired glucose tolerance, caesarean section, gestational hypertension and other adverse conditions.

Methods: We searched for randomized and quasi-randomized trials through the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, and direct communications with relevant organizations. Assessments of inclusion criteria, extraction of data from included studies, and risk of bias' assessments of the included studies were done independently by two review authors.

Results: We included 15 trials, excluded 27 trials and 23 trials are still ongoing/unpublished. Data from seven trials with 868 women suggest that pregnant women supplemented with vitamin D had significantly higher 25(OH)D levels compared to controls (mean difference: 54.7nmol/L; 95% CI 36.6, 72.9). Two trials found a lower risk of preeclampsia (8.9% versus 15.5%; average risk ratio 0.52; 95% CI 0.25, 1.05) and two other trials found no difference in the risk of gestational diabetes with vitamin D supplementation. Also, three trials found that supplementation with vitamin D plus calcium reduced the risk of pre-eclampsia (5% versus 9%; average risk ratio 0.51; 95% CI 0.32, 0.80).

Conclusion: Supplementing pregnant women with vitamin D led to significantly higher levels of 25(OH)D at term compared to placebo/control but results were inconsistent. Vitamin D supplementation, with or without calcium, may be related to lower risk of preeclampsia but more studies are needed to confirm this.

Keywords: Gestational diabetes; Pre-eclampsia; Pregnant women; Supplements; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D