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Low vitamin D during pregnancy associated with four health problems in children – Jan 2015

Vitamin D in fetal development: findings from a birth cohort study.

Pediatrics. 2015 Jan;135(1):e167-73. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1860. Epub 2014 Dec 15.
Hart PH1, Lucas RM2, Walsh JP3, Zosky GR4, Whitehouse AJ5, Zhu K3, Allen KL6, Kusel MM5, Anderson D5, Mountain JA5.
1Telethon Kids Institute, Prue.Hart at telethonkids.org.au.
2Telethon Kids Institute, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia;
3Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Australia; and School of Medicine and Pharmacology, and.
4Telethon Kids Institute, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
5Telethon Kids Institute.
6Telethon Kids Institute, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia;

Birth cohort studies provide an invaluable resource for studies of the influence of the fetal environment on health in later life. It is uncertain to what extent maternal vitamin D status influences fetal development. Using an unselected community-based cohort of 901 mother-offspring pairs (the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort [Raine] Study), we examined the relationship between maternal vitamin D deficiency at 18 weeks' pregnancy and long-term health outcomes of offspring who were born in Perth, Western Australia (32° South), in 1989-1991. Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] <50 nmol/L) was present in 36% (323 of 901) of the pregnant women. After adjusting for relevant covariates, maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy was associated with

  • impaired lung development in 6-year-old offspring,
  • neurocognitive difficulties at age 10,
  • increased risk of eating disorders in adolescence, and
  • lower peak bone mass at 20 years.

In summary, vitamin D may have an important, multifaceted role in the development of fetal lungs, brain, and bone. Experimental animal studies support an active contribution of vitamin D to organ development. Randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women with long-term follow-up of offspring are urgently required to examine whether the correction of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is beneficial for their offspring and to determine the optimal level of maternal serum 25(OH)D for fetal development.

Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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PMID: 25511121

See also VitaminDWiki