Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Vitamin D

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jul 25;24(15):11881. doi: 10.3390/ijms241511881.


Exclusive breastfeeding is considered the ideal food in the first six months of life; however, paradoxically, vitamin D content in human breast milk is clearly low and insufficient to obtain the recommended intake of 400 IU daily. This article summarizes the extraordinary metabolism of vitamin D during pregnancy and its content in human breast milk. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in pregnant women and/or nursing mothers and its potential maternal-fetal consequences are analyzed. The current guidelines for vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants to prevent hypovitaminosis D in breastfed infants are detailed. Low vitamin D content in human breast milk is probably related to active changes in human lifestyle habits (reduced sunlight exposure).

Keywords: breastfed infants; breastfeeding; human breast milk; metabolism; pregnancy; supplementation; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Milk, Human / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Rickets* / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / prevention & control
  • Vitamins / metabolism


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.