Systematic Review of Vitamin D and Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy

Nutrients. 2018 Mar 1;10(3):294. doi: 10.3390/nu10030294.


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.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / blood
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D