Current Recommended Vitamin D Prenatal Supplementation and Fetal Growth: Results From the China-Anhui Birth Cohort Study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jan 1;103(1):244-252. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00850.


Context: Maternal vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with fetal growth restriction. However, the effect of maternal vitamin D supplementation on fetal growth has not been confirmed.

Objective: To assess the effect of maternal vitamin D supplementation recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) during pregnancy on the neonatal vitamin D status and the risk of small for gestational age (SGA).

Design and participants: As part of the China-Anhui Birth Cohort study, maternal sociodemographic characteristics, food intake, lifestyle, information on vitamin D supplementation, and birth outcomes were prospectively collected. For participants, 600 IU/d of vitamin D3 was routinely advised to take during pregnancy. Cord blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], calcium, and phosphorus were measured in 1491 neonates who were divided into three groups based on the duration of maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.

Results: Mean cord blood concentrations of 25(OH)D were 3.5 nmol/L higher [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.8, 6.2] in neonates (median, 37.9 nmol/L) whose mother took vitamin D supplementation for >2 months during pregnancy compared with those (median, 34.3 nmol/L) whose mother did not take any supplement. These significant differences on cord blood concentrations of 25(OH)D occurred regardless of the season of birth. The adjusted risk of SGA in pregnant women with vitamin D supplementation for >2 months was significantly decreased than that in women without any vitamin D supplementation (11.8% vs 6.9%; adjusted odds ratio = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.32, 0.87).

Conclusions: The findings from China suggest that maternal vitamin D supplementation recommended by the IOM results in a slight but significantly higher fetal level of 25(OH)D and improves fetal growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • China
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / prevention & control*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D