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J Nutr. 2017 Jun;147(6):1145-1151. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.241216. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Maternal Vitamin D Insufficiency Early in Pregnancy Is Associated with Increased Risk of Preterm Birth in Ethnic Minority Women in Canada.

Author information

Ste-Justine University Hospital Centre and.
Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
University of Montreal Hospital Research Center, Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Research Centre of the Sherbrooke University Hospital (CHUS), Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; and Departments of.
Biochemistry and.
Ste-Justine University Hospital Centre and


Background: Maternal vitamin D insufficiency (plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] <75 nmol/L) may play a role in ethnic disparities in rates of preterm and spontaneous preterm births.Objective: We explored the relation between maternal plasma 25(OH)D concentration in the first trimester (8-14 wk of gestation) and the risk of preterm and spontaneous preterm births (<37 wk of gestation) by ethnicity.Methods: We designed a case-control study that included 120 cases of preterm birth (<37 wk of gestation) and 360 term controls (≥37 wk of gestation) of singleton pregnancies from the 3D cohort, a multicenter study in 2456 pregnant women in Quebec, Canada. Plasma 25(OH)D was measured by LC-mass spectrometry. We compared the distribution of vitamin D status between cases and controls for 8 ethnic minority subgroups. We explored the association between maternal plasma 25(OH)D concentration and preterm and spontaneous preterm births with the use of splines in logistic regression by ethnicity.Results: The distributions of maternal vitamin D status (<50, 50-75, and >75 nmol/L) were different in preterm and spontaneous preterm birth cases compared with controls but only in women of ethnic minority (P-trend = 0.003 and 0.024, respectively). Among ethnic subgroups, sub-Saharan Africans (P-trend = 0.030) and Arab-West Asians (P-trend = 0.045) showed an inverse relation between maternal vitamin D status and the risk of preterm birth. Maternal plasma 25(OH)D concentrations of 30 nmol/L were associated with 4.05 times the risk of preterm birth in the total ethnic minority population (95% CI: 1.16, 14.12; P = 0.028) relative to participants with a concentration of 75 nmol/L. In contrast, there was no such association among nonethnic women (OR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.48, 1.82; P = 0.85). There was no association when we considered only spontaneous preterm births in the total ethnic minority population (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 0.39, 7.79; P = 0.46).Conclusion: Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth in ethnic minority women in Canada.


ethnicity; pregnancy; preterm birth; spontaneous preterm birth; vitamin D

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