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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Sep;92(9):3517-22. Epub 2007 May 29.

Maternal vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of preeclampsia.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, A742 Crabtree Hall, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15261, USA.



Vitamin D has direct influence on molecular pathways proposed to be important in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, yet the vitamin D-preeclampsia relation has not been studied.


We aimed to assess the effect of maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration on the risk of preeclampsia and to assess the vitamin D status of newborns of preeclamptic mothers.


We conducted a nested case-control study of pregnant women followed from less than 16 wk gestation to delivery (1997-2001) at prenatal clinics and private practices.


Patients included nulliparous pregnant women with singleton pregnancies who developed preeclampsia (n = 55) or did not develop preeclampsia (n = 219). Women's banked sera were newly measured for 25(OH)D.


The main outcome measure was preeclampsia (new-onset gestational hypertension and proteinuria for the first time after 20 wk gestation). Our hypotheses were formulated before data collection.


Adjusted serum 25(OH)D concentrations in early pregnancy were lower in women who subsequently developed preeclampsia compared with controls [geometric mean, 45.4 nmol/liter, and 95% confidence interval (CI), 38.6-53.4 nmol/liter, vs. 53.1 and 47.1-59.9 nmol/liter; P < 0.01]. There was a monotonic dose-response relation between serum 25(OH)D concentrations at less than 22 wk and risk of preeclampsia. After confounder adjustment, a 50-nmol/liter decline in 25(OH)D concentration doubled the risk of preeclampsia (adjusted odds ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.1-5.4). Newborns of preeclamptic mothers were twice as likely as control newborns to have 25(OH)D less than 37.5 nmol/liter (adjusted odds ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.1).


Maternal vitamin D deficiency may be an independent risk factor for preeclampsia. Vitamin D supplementation in early pregnancy should be explored for preventing preeclampsia and promoting neonatal well-being.

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