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Annu Rev Nutr. 2011 Aug 21;31:89-115. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.012809.104807.

Vitamin D in pregnancy and lactation in humans.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Concerns exist about the adequacy of vitamin D in pregnant and lactating women. This review assesses the evidence that maternal vitamin D status influences maternal, fetal, and breast-fed infant bone health; maternal adverse outcomes (preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, obstructed labor, and infectious disease); fetal adverse outcomes (growth, gestational age, and developmental programming); and infant adverse outcomes. The evidence for all of these outcomes is contradictory (except for maternal infectious disease) and lacking causality; thus, it is inconclusive. The 2011 Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and their implications for assessing vitamin D status are discussed. An estimated 5% to 29% of American pregnant women may have inadequate vitamin D status, with the higher prevalence in African Americans. Little is known about the prevalence of inadequacy in American lactating women. Research needs are also identified, especially the need for rigorous and well-designed randomized clinical trials to determine the role of vitamin D in nonbone health outcomes in pregnancy and lactation.

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