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Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women can compromise neonates

Researchers from McGill University Sainte Anne de Bellevue in Canada conducted a scoping review to provide an overview of the latest evidence from studies regarding the impact of maternal risk factors on infant 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations, with a focus on studies in Canada and the U.S. This article was published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • Low vitamin D (VitD) status is common among newborn infants.
  • Evidence also suggests that in temperate latitudes, maternal VitD deficiency is a major risk factor because the neonate relies solely on maternal-fetal transfer of VitD.
  • Several maternal risk factors contribute to low maternal-fetal 25(OH)D concentrations, but no clear pattern has been reported for multi-ethnic populations.
  • Darker skin pigmentation and ethnicity are common risk factors for low VitD status.
  • In studies involving white women, supplementation of VitD during pregnancy causes significant increases in maternal serum 25(OH)D which often improves cord serum 25(OH)D values.
  • Supplementation by pregnant women positively influences maternal and infant 25(OH)D concentrations.
  • Conversely, winter season, obesity, lower socioeconomic status including lifestyle factors like smoking and use of medication increase the risk of low maternal-fetal transfer of VitD.
  • There is still a dearth of pertinent data on the relationship between some maternal risk factors and newborn 25(OH)D concentrations, for example, relationships between gestational diabetes and neonatal VitD status.

The researchers emphasize the need for additional research to determine if the same target for 25(OH)D concentration applies for pregnant women, neonates and infants.

Journal Reference:

Sotunde OF, Laliberte A, Weiler HA. MATERNAL RISK FACTORS AND NEWBORN INFANT VITAMIN D STATUS: A SCOPING LITERATURE REVIEW. Nutrition Research. 2019;63:1–20. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.11.011

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