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Annu Rev Nutr. 2012 Aug 21;32:97-123. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071811-150742. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

The role of vitamin D in pregnancy and lactation: insights from animal models and clinical studies.

Author information

1
Health Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada. ckovacs@mun.ca

Abstract

Maternal adaptations during pregnancy and lactation appear to provide calcium to fetus and neonate without relying on vitamin D or calcitriol. Consequently, the blood calcium, calciotropic hormones, and skeleton appear normal at birth in the offspring of mothers who are severely vitamin D deficient or who lack calcitriol or its receptor. It remains unclear whether skeletal or extraskeletal problems will develop postnatally from exposure to vitamin D deficiency in utero. During the neonatal period, calcitriol-stimulated intestinal calcium absorption becomes the dominant mechanism of calcium delivery. The vitamin D-deficient neonate is at risk to develop hypocalcemia, rickets, and possibly extraskeletal disorders (e.g., type 1 diabetes). Breastfed babies are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency because normally little vitamin D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D passes into breast milk. Dosing recommendations during pregnancy and lactation should ensure that the baby is born vitamin D sufficient and maintained that way during infancy and beyond.

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