Mother's vitamin D level linked to birth weight

Mothers' vitamin D levels at a gestation of 26 weeks or less were positively related to birth weight and head circumference, and, in the first trimester were negatively associated with risk of a baby being born small for gestational age, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The major source of for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight. Very few foods naturally contain or are fortified with vitamin D. Thus, the major cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency can result in abnormalities in calcium, phosphorus, and bone metabolism, and there has been recent interest in understanding the role of vitamin D in other health conditions. Previous studies have shown inconsistent associations between maternal vitamin D status and fetal size.

"We found that a mother's vitamin D level, in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, was related to the normal growth of babies who delivered at term," said Alison Gernand, PhD, MPH, RD of the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study. "If a mother was vitamin D deficient, the of her baby was 46 g lower after accounting for other characteristics of the mom. Also if moms were vitamin D deficient in the , they had twice the risk of delivering a baby that suffered from growth restriction during the pregnancy."

In this study, researchers examined 2146 women delivering term, live births with vitamin D levels measured at a gestation of 26 weeks or less. Birth weight was measured just after birth and infant and placental weight were measured within 24 hours of birth.

"Our study is an important contribution to the epidemiologic evidence that maternal vitamin D status, especially in early pregnancy, may contribute to both pathological and physiological fetal growth," noted Lisa Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD, of the University of Pittsburgh and senior author of the study. "Randomized trials that supplement pregnant women with vitamin D are needed to test this finding."

More information: The article, "Maternal Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Measures of Newborn and Placental Weight in a U.S. Multicenter Cohort Study," appears in the January 2013 issue of JCEM.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pregnant women at risk of Vitamin D deficiency

Apr 05, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, and, their babies are more prone to bone weakness, according to a study and editorial published in the latest issue ...

Recommended for you

Researchers developing a digital maternity package

9 minutes ago

Every Finnish expectant mother can choose to receive a free of charge maternity package containing baby clothes and other useful items. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is currently developing a digital maternity ...

Study shows human ear impacted by low frequency noises

51 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—A new study by a team of researchers in Germany has resulted in findings that suggest the human ear is more impacted by low frequency sounds than has been previously thought. In their paper ...

User comments