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Womens Health (Lond). 2012 May;8(3):323-40. doi: 10.2217/whe.12.17.

The role of vitamin D in pregnancy and lactation: emerging concepts.

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  • 1Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.


Pregnancy is a critical time in the lifecycle of a woman where she is responsible not only for her own well-being, but also that of her developing fetus, a process that continues during lactation. Until recently, the impact of vitamin D status during this period had not been fully appreciated. Data regarding the importance of vitamin D in health have emerged to challenge traditional dogma, and suggest that vitamin D - through its effect on immune function and surveillance - plays a role beyond calcium and bone metabolism on the health status of both the mother and her fetus. Following birth, this process persists; the lactating mother continues to be the main source of vitamin D for her infant. Thus, during both pregnancy and lactation, maternal deficiency predicts fetal and infant deficiency; the significance of this is just beginning to be understood and will be highlighted in this review.

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