We assessed whether modification of vitamin D nutritional status during the last trimester of pregnancy affects maternal and neonatal calcium homeostasis. At the end of the first trimester, 40 pregnant women were randomly assigned to either of two groups, and blood taken to assess the basal values of Ca, Pi, Mg, iPTH, 25-OHD, and 1,25(OH)2D. From the sixth month on, group 1 (+D) received 1000 IU vitamin D3 daily; group 2 (-D) served as control. At the time of delivery, maternal serum 25-OHD was higher in the +D group (P less than 0.0005). Ca, Pi, iPTH, and 1,25(OH)2D were not affected. At term, venous cord 25-OHD levels were also higher in the +D group (P less than 0.0005), and 1,25(OH)2D levels slightly lower (P less than 0.05), but neither Ca, Pi, nor iPTH differed between the two groups. Serum CaT dropped significantly (P less than 0.002) at 4 days of age in the infants from both groups, although to a lesser extent in these from the +D group (P less than 0.05). Circulating iPTH increased in both groups. Serum 25-OHD remained low in the -D group, and dropped slightly in the +D group; 1,25(OH)2D remained stable during the first 4 days of life in the -D group, and increased in the +D group (P less than 0.001). Our data demonstrate the importance of providing adequate maternal vitamin D stores to ensure better perinatal handling of calcium. This is of particular importance for populations at risk for hypovitaminosis D.