Vitamin D and its impact on maternal-fetal outcomes in pregnancy: A critical review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Mar 24;58(5):755-769. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1220915. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


The role of vitamin D beyond its classical function in calcium homeostasis has been of significant interest in recent years. There has been expanding research on the pleiotropic role of vitamin D in pregnancy and the implications of its deficiency on maternal-fetal outcomes. Several studies have associated low maternal vitamin D status to adverse outcomes in pregnancy, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm births, low birth weight, and others. Several randomized controlled clinical trials of Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy have also been conducted. Though some of the studies found improvement in pregnancy outcomes with vitamin D supplementation, others have not shown any association. In this article, we have critically reviewed the observational and interventional studies, published primarily within the past two years (January 2014 to February 2016) on the influence of vitamin D deficiency on pregnancy and the impact of its supplementation. The potential underlying mechanisms of vitamin D in regulating each of the outcomes have also been discussed.

Keywords: Pregnancy; maternal outcomes; neonatal outcomes; vitamin D; vitamin D supplementation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Vitamin D