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PLoS One. 2017 Jul 24;12(7):e0180483. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180483. eCollection 2017.

Maternal 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/mL associated with 60% lower preterm birth risk among general obstetrical patients at an urban medical center.

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GrassrootsHealth, Encinitas, California, United States of America.
Deptartment of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America.



Given the high rate of preterm birth (PTB) nationwide and data from RCTs demonstrating risk reduction with vitamin D supplementation, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) implemented a new standard of care for pregnant women to receive vitamin D testing and supplementation.


To determine if the reported inverse relationship between maternal 25(OH)D and PTB risk could be replicated at MUSC, an urban medical center treating a large, diverse population.


Medical record data were obtained for pregnant patients aged 18-45 years between September 2015 and December 2016. During this time, a protocol that included 25(OH)D testing at first prenatal visit with recommended follow-up testing was initiated. Free vitamin D supplements were offered and the treatment goal was ≥40 ng/mL. PTB rates (<37 weeks) were calculated, and logistic regression and locally weighted regression (LOESS) were used to explore the association between 25(OH)D and PTB. Subgroup analyses were also conducted.


Among women with a live, singleton birth and at least one 25(OH)D test during pregnancy (N = 1,064), the overall PTB rate was 13%. The LOESS curve showed gestational age rising with increasing 25(OH)D. Women with 25(OH)D ≥40 ng/mL had a 62% lower risk of PTB compared to those <20 ng/mL (p<0.0001). After adjusting for socioeconomic variables, this lower risk remained (OR = 0.41, p = 0.002). Similar decreases in PTB risk were observed for PTB subtypes (spontaneous: 58%, p = 0.02; indicated: 61%, p = 0.006), by race/ethnicity (white: 65%, p = 0.03; non-white: 68%, p = 0.008), and among women with a prior PTB (80%, p = 0.02). Among women with initial 25(OH)D <40 ng/mL, PTB rates were 60% lower for those with ≥40 vs. <40 ng/mL on a follow-up test (p = 0.006); 38% for whites (p = 0.33) and 78% for non-whites (p = 0.01).


Maternal 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/mL were associated with substantial reduction in PTB risk in a large, diverse population of women.

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