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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 Jun;180:41-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2017.12.011. Epub 2017 Dec 17.

Vitamin D: Effects on human reproduction, pregnancy, and fetal well-being.

Author information

1
Clinical Nursing, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, WA, USA. Electronic address: gene.heyden@gmail.com.
2
Endocrinology & Nutrition, Cardio Metabolic Institute, 661 Darmody Avenue, North Brunswick, NJ, USA. Electronic address: suniljw@hotmail.com.

Abstract

Pregnancy places exceptional demands on vitamin D and calcium availability; thus, their deficiencies during pregnancy threaten the woman and her fetus. Globally, vitamin D and other micronutrient deficiencies are common during pregnancy, especially in developing countries where pregnant women have less access to nutritional supplements. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be as high as 40% among pregnant women. As a pregnancy progresses, the requirements for vitamin D increase and thus, can worsen preexisting hypovitaminosis D. Consequently, hypovitaminosis D is increasingly associated with a higher incidence of fetal miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, bacterial vaginosis, and impaired fetal and childhood growth and development. This review explores the recent advances in the understanding of vitamin D and the pivotal role it plays in human reproduction, with an emphasis on pregnancy and its outcomes. Given the seriousness of the issue, there is a pressing need for clinicians to become aware of the risks associated with not identifying and correcting vitamin D deficiency. Identifying and correcting vitamin D deficiency, including safe exposure to sunlight, is particularly relevant for those who seek assistance with fertility issues or prenatal counseling, and those in the beginning of their pregnancy. The data point to a significant protective effects of vitamin D during pregnancy when the 25(OH)D serum level exceeds 30 ng/mL before pregnancy and during the first trimester and, sufficient levels are maintained throughout the pregnancy.

KEYWORDS:

1,25(OH)(2)D; 25(OH)D; Deficiency; Infant; Insufficiency; Preeclampsia

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