Vitamin D status during normal pregnancy and postpartum. A longitudinal study in 141 Danish women

Nils Milman 1 , Anne-Mette Hvas 2  and Thomas Bergholt 1
  • 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hellerup, Denmark
  • 2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark


Background/objectives: To assess vitamin D status during normal pregnancy and in the postpartum lactation period.

Subjects/methods: The study comprised 141 healthy, ethnic Danish women with normal pregnancies, who were residents in Greater Copenhagen. Serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D2+D3(25-OH-vitamin D) was measured at 18, 32 and 39 weeks’ gestation and 8 weeks postpartum.

Results: There was a significant increase in 25-OH-vitamin D from 18 to 32 weeks’ gestation (P=0.0001) followed by a significant decrease from 32 to 39 weeks (P=0.001) as well as from 39 weeks to 8 weeks postpartum (P<0.0001). At 18, 32, 39 weeks’ gestation and 8 weeks postpartum, median 25-OH-vitamin D values were 77, 98, 91, and 73 nmol/L, respectively. During pregnancy and postpartum, none of the women displayed severe vitamin D deficiency (values <13 nmol/L). Between 1.4% and 4.3% of the participants displayed moderate vitamin D deficiency (values 13–24 nmol/L), 16–19% displayed vitamin D insufficiency (values 25–50 nmol/L), 77–84% had values >50 nmol/L and 0.7–2.8% had values >200 nmol/L.

Conclusions: Low vitamin D status is frequent among pregnant Danish women, especially in late pregnancy and during lactation. Median dietary intake of vitamin D in women of reproductive age was 2.4 μg/day (10–90 percentile range=1.4–5.0). The recommendations for vitamin D supplementation prior to conception, during pregnancy and lactation should be reconsidered.

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The Journal of Perinatal Medicine is a truly international forum covering the entire field of perinatal medicine. It is an essential news source for all those obstetricians, neonatologists, perinatologists and allied health professionals who wish to keep abreast of progress in perinatal and related research.