Vital vitamin D during pregnancy

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.pngMore than 8 in 10 pregnant women in India have low levels of Vitamin D putting them as well as the offspring at serious health risks. The high prevalence of this vitamin deficiency in pregnant women is a matter of public health concern. Experts recommend Vitamin D supplementation throughout pregnancy and lactation for mothers to ensure proper growth and development of the newborn.

Women at risk of Vitamin D deficiency

  • Obese (overweight) , BMI>40kg/m2
  • Spend a lot of time indoors, or are covered up when in the sun
  • Have dark skin

 What happens when Vitamin D levels are low?

Low vitamin D levels in mothers is associated with

  • Low serum calcium in the newborn, with or without convulsions
  • Rickets and defective tooth enamel

Effects on Low vitamin D levels on foetal growth:

  • Lower birth weights (LBW) and a higher risk of being small for gestational age (SGA)
  • Lower neonatal bone mineral accrual
  • Poor foetal femoral (thigh bone –longest, heaviest and strongest bone in human body) development as early as 19 weeks of pregnancy

Low maternal vitamin D concentrations may also affect the function of other tissues, leading to a greater risk of multiple sclerosis, cancer, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and schizophrenia later in life and may influence early-life respiratory health.

Recommended daily intakes for pregnant women
Vitamin D Council 4,000-6,000 IU/day
Endocrine Society 1,500-2,000 IU/day
Food and Nutrition Board 600 IU/day

Although there is much difference in Vitamin D dose recommendations across various expert groups, the need for supplementation is clear. We recommend that every pregnant woman should get her serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D) levels tested and then decide a suitable dose in consultation with a well-qualified physician.


Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. Clinical practice guidelines: Antenatal care-Module 1. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; 2012. Available from:



Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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