Effectiveness of Prenatal Vitamin D Deficiency Screening and Treatment Program: A Stratified Randomized Field Trial

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Aug 1;103(8):2936-2948. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-00109.


Context: Despite evidence on the association between hypovitaminosis D and adverse pregnancy outcomes and the positive impact of vitamin D supplementation, no evidence exists supporting a universal screening program in pregnancy as part of routine prenatal care.

Objective: We sought to determine the effectiveness of a prenatal screening program on optimizing 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and preventing pregnancy complications. Also, to identify a safe regimen, we compared several regimens in a subgroup of vitamin D-deficient pregnant women.

Design: Two cities of Masjed-Soleyman and Shushtar from Khuzestan province, Iran, were selected as the screening and nonscreening arms, respectively. Within the screening arm, a randomized controlled trial was conducted on 800 pregnant women.

Setting: Health centers of Masjed-Soleyman and Shushtar cities.

Patients or participants: Pregnant women aged 18 to 40 years.

Intervention: Women with moderate [25(OH)D, 10 to 20 ng/mL] and severe [25(OH)D, <10 ng/mL] deficiency were randomly divided into four subgroups and received vitamin D3 (D3) until delivery.

Main outcome measure: Maternal concentration of 25(OH)D at delivery and rate of pregnancy complications.

Results: After supplementation, only 2% of the women in the nonscreening site met the sufficiency level (>20 ng/mL) vs 53% of the women in the screening site. Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, and preterm delivery, were decreased by 60%, 50%, and 40%, respectively, in the screening site. A D3 injection in addition to monthly 50,000 IU maintenance therapy contributed the most to achievement of sufficient levels at delivery.

Conclusions: A prenatal vitamin D screening and treatment program is an effective approach in detecting deficient women, improving 25(OH)D levels, and decreasing pregnancy adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cholecalciferol / blood
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Diagnosis* / methods
  • Program Evaluation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Cholecalciferol

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT2014102519660N1