Vitamin D in pregnancy: Current concepts

Division of Women's Primary Care, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 03/2012; 24(2):57-64. DOI: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3283505ab3
Source: PubMed


Vitamin D is part of a complex steroid hormone system long known to be involved in bone metabolism. Recently, vitamin D has been implicated in physiologic processes as diverse as vascular health, immune function, metabolism and placental function. This review summarizes the current evidence for the role of vitamin D in pregnancy and perinatal outcomes A systematic review of articles published in PubMed between May 2010 and October 2011 was undertaken using key words for vitamin D and pregnancy. Seventy-eight studies were reviewed.
The biologic evidence regarding a role for vitamin D in reproductive outcomes is strong, and rates of vitamin D deficiency may be high among pregnant women. However, no consensus exists regarding optimum vitamin D levels in pregnancy or standard measurement of vitamin D deficiency. Clinical studies establishing an association between vitamin D levels and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birthweight, preterm labor, cesarean delivery and infectious diseases have conflicting results. This is likely due to a paucity of randomized trials, heterogeneity of populations studied and low sample size with poor adjustment for confounding among observational studies.
Further research should focus on defining optimum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in pregnancy as well as among various subgroups of the population. Randomized trials are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can improve pregnancy outcomes. Currently, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Institute of Medicine recommend 600 IU of daily vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy to support maternal and fetal bone metabolism.

70 Reads
  • Source
    • "Genetic variability of the VDR has been strongly associated with infant birth weight among non-Hispanic black (who have higher rates of preterm birth and low birth weight infants), but not non-Hispanic white, women (Swamy et al., 2011). However, due to contradictory evidence and limited randomized clinical trials, whether vitamin D is causally linked to these conditions remains to be firmly established (Brannon and Picciano, 2011; Urrutia and Thorp, 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The essentiality of vitamin D for normal growth and development has been recognized for over 80 years, and vitamin D fortification programs have been in place in the United States for more than 70 years. Despite the above, vitamin D deficiency continues to be a common finding in certain population groups. Vitamin D deficiency has been suggested as a potential risk factor for the development of preeclampsia, and vitamin D deficiency during infancy and early childhood is associated with an increased risk for numerous skeletal disorders, as well as immunological and vascular abnormalities. Vitamin D deficiency can occur through multiple mechanisms including the consumption of diets low in this vitamin and inadequate exposure to environmental ultraviolet B rays. The potential value of vitamin D supplementation in high-risk pregnancies and during infancy and early childhood is discussed. Currently, there is vigorous debate concerning what constitutes appropriate vitamin D intakes during early development as exemplified by differing recommendations from the Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake report and recent recommendations by the Endocrine Society. As is discussed, a major issue that needs to be resolved is what key biological endpoint should be used when making vitamin D recommendations for the pregnant woman and her offspring. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 99:24-44, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Birth Defects Research Part C Embryo Today Reviews
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate the association of maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) status with glucose homeostasis and obstetric and newborn outcomes in women screened for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).Methods: Consecutive women were screened for GDM at 24 to 28 weeks' gestation during the months of maximal sunlight exposure in Spain (June through September). Serum 25(OH)D levels and parameters of glucose homeostasis were measured. Outcomes of the delivery and newborn were collected.Results: Two hundred sixty-six women were screened. Vitamin D deficiency (25[OH]D <20 ng/mL) was observed in 157 women (59%). We observed an inverse correlation between 25(OH)D levels and hemoglobin A1c, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, serum insulin, and fasting and 1-hour oral glucose tolerance test glucose levels (P<.001). With a 25(OH)D concentration less than 20 ng/mL, the odds ratios were 3.31 for premature birth (95% confidence interval, 1.52-7.19; P<.002) and 3.93 for cesarean delivery (95% confidence interval, 2.00-7.73; P<.001). A 25(OH)D concentration of 20 ng/mL had 79% sensitivity and 51% specificity for cesarean delivery and 80% sensitivity and 45% specificity for premature birth. The cutoffs with the best combination of sensitivity and specificity were 16 ng/mL for cesarean delivery (62.9% sensitivity and 61.2% specificity) and 14 ng/mL for premature birth (66.7% sensitivity and 71.0% specificity).Conclusions: In the population we sampled, vitamin D deficiency is very common during pregnancy. Lower 25(OH)D levels are associated with disorders of glucose homeostasis and adverse obstetric and newborn outcomes.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Endocrine Practice
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The steroid hormone vitamin D is historically recognized for its relevance to bone health and calcium homeostasis. Recent years have witnessed a shift in focus to non-skeletal benefits of vitamin D; in this latter context, an accruing body of literature attests to a relevance of vitamin D to reproductive physiology. This article reviews the existing data about the diverse and previously underappreciated roles for vitamin D in reproductive health. A large body of available literature suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be detrimental to reproductive biology. However, given that our appreciation of vitamin D's role in reproductive physiology is almost entirely shaped by 'associative' studies and that data based on prospective interventional trials are limited, these concepts remain predominantly conjectural. Exact mechanisms whereby vitamin D may participate in the regulation of reproductive physiology remain far from clear. This review underscores a need for appropriately designed intervention trials to address the existing knowledge gaps and to delineate the specific roles of vitamin D signaling in reproductive biology.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Human Reproduction
Show more