Ultraviolet radiation and effects on humans: the paradigm of maternal vitamin D production during pregnancy

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Nov;71(11):1268-1272. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.188. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Current evidence indicates that neonates born of mothers with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy have greater risk for developing hypocalcemia, rickets and extra-skeletal disorders. Despite the classic knowledge that ultraviolet-B (UVB) exposure is the most efficient way for a future mother to obtain optimal vitamin D concentrations, no current consensus or clinical recommendations exist regarding the duration and timing of UVB exposure for pregnant women. This article offers a narrative review of available data regarding how UVB exposure affects maternal vitamin D production during pregnancy, along with a discourse on clinical implications of this public health issue. Future studies would benefit from adopting UVB exposure estimates to recommend appropriate UVB exposure to pregnant women. Doing so could provide a more holistic and practical approach in managing maternal hypovitaminosis D during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin D