Effect of Vitamin D Status during Pregnancy on Infant Neurodevelopment: The ECLIPSES Study

Nutrients. 2020 Oct 19;12(10):3196. doi: 10.3390/nu12103196.


Vitamin D status during pregnancy is involved in numerous physiological processes, including brain development. In this study, we assess the association between vitamin D status during pregnancy and infant neurodevelopment (cognitive, language, and motor skills). From an initial sample of 793 women (mean age 30.6) recruited before the 12th week of pregnancy, 422 mother-infant pairs were followed up to a postpartum visit. Vitamin D levels were assessed in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and socio-demographic, nutritional, and psychological variables were collected. At 40 days postpartum, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III were administered to the infants and several obstetrical data were recorded. Independently from several confounding factors, deficient vitamin D levels in the first trimester of pregnancy (<30 nmol/L) predicted a worse performance in cognitive and language skills. Language performance worsened with lower vitamin D levels (<20 nmol/L). In the third trimester, this highly deficient level was also associated with lower motor skills. Vitamin D deficiency was therefore associated with worse neurodevelopmental outcomes. More studies are needed to determine specific recommendations with regard to vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy in order to promote an optimal course for pregnancy and optimal infant neurodevelopment.

Keywords: infant; neurodevelopment; pregnancy; prenatal nutrition; vitamin D.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology*
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / etiology
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D