Does Maternal Vitamin D Deficiency Increase the Risk of Preterm Birth: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

Nutrients. 2016 May 20;8(5):301. doi: 10.3390/nu8050301.


There are disagreements among researchers about the association between vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and preterm birth (PTB). Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis of observational studies to evaluate this association. We performed a systematic literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library through August 2015 with the following keywords: "vitamin D" or "cholecalciferol" or "25-hydroxyvitamin D" or "25(OH)D" in combination with "premature birth" or "preterm birth" or "PTB" or "preterm delivery" or "PTD" or "prematurity". Our meta-analysis of 10 studies included 10,098 participants and found that pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency (maternal serum 25 (OH) D levels < 20 ng/mL) experienced a significantly increased risk of PTB (odds ratio (OR) = 1.29, 95% confidence intervals(CI): 1.16, 1.45) with low heterogeneity (I² = 25%, p = 0.21). Sensitivity analysis showed that exclusion of any single study did not materially alter the overall combined effect. In the subgroup analyses, we found that heterogeneity was obvious in prospective cohort studies (I² = 60%, p = 0.06). In conclusion, pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy have an increasing risk of PTB.

Keywords: meta; pregnant women; preterm birth; vitamin D deficiency.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Maternal Health*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D