This narrative systematic review evaluates growing evidence of an association between low maternal vitamin D status and increased risk of hypertensive disorders. The inclusion of interventional, observational, and dietary studies on vitamin D and all hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is a novel aspect of this review, providing a unique contribution to an intensively-researched area that still lacks a definitive conclusion. To date, trial evidence supports a protective effect of combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation against preeclampsia. Conflicting data for an association of vitamin D with gestational hypertensive disorders in observational studies arises from a number of sources, including large heterogeneity between study designs, lack of adherence to standardized perinatal outcome definitions, variable quality of analytical data for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), and inconsistent data reporting of vitamin D status. While evidence does appear to lean towards an increased risk of gestational hypertensive disorders at 25(OH)D concentrations <50 nmol/L, caution should be exercised with dosing in trials, given the lack of data on long-term safety. The possibility that a fairly narrow target range for circulating 25(OH)D for achievement of clinically-relevant improvements requires further exploration. As hypertension alone, and not preeclampsia specifically, limits intrauterine growth, evaluation of the relationship between vitamin D status and all terms of hypertension in pregnancy is a clinically relevant area for research and should be prioritised in future randomised trials.
Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; gestational hypertension; preeclampsia; vitamin D.