Context: It is unclear how in utero vitamin D deficiency affects the extraskeletal health of children, despite the known risks for adverse pregnancy/birth outcomes.
Objective: This systematic review seeks to assess the effect of in utero vitamin D exposure on childhood allergy and infection outcomes using the PRISMA guidelines.
Data sources: MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases were searched.
Study selection: Literature published through April 2015 was searched for studies reporting on the association between maternal pregnancy or cord blood vitamin D status and childhood allergy and infection.
Data extraction: Of 4175 articles identified, 43 studies met the inclusion criteria. They examined a wide variety of outcomes, using many different vitamin D cutoff values in their analyses.
Data synthesis: For most outcomes, results were inconsistent, although there appeared to be a protective effect between higher in utero vitamin D status and childhood lower respiratory tract infection (5 of 10 studies).
Conclusions: More research is needed on childhood allergy and infection outcomes, and future studies should standardize outcome reporting, especially with regard to cutoff values for vitamin D concentrations. Evidence of a protective association between in utero vitamin D exposure and lower respiratory tract infection was found, while the other outcomes were either understudied or showed inconsistent results.PROSPERO registration no. CRD42013006156.
Keywords: allergy; epidemiology; infection; pediatrics; pregnancy; vitamin D.
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