Does Vitamin D During Pregnancy Impact Offspring Growth and Bone?

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During pregnancy, maternal and fetal Ca demands are met through increased intestinal Ca absorption. Increased Ca absorption may be more dependent on oestrogen's up-regulation of Ca transport genes than on vitamin D status. Numerous studies, however, have found that severe vitamin D deficiency with secondary hyperparathyroidism during pregnancy leads to abnormal Ca homoeostasis in the neonate. Some, but not all, studies of maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy find a greater birth weight among infants of mothers with adequate vitamin D status. Observational studies find a higher incidence of small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants among mothers who are vitamin D deficient, but this effect may be modified by genetics. In addition, the effect of vitamin D status on SGA may not be linear, with increased occurrence of SGA at high maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) concentrations. Some studies, but not all, also have found that maternal vitamin D status is associated with growth trajectory during the first year of life, although the findings are contradictory. There are recent studies that suggest maternal 25-OHD, or surrogates of vitamin D status, are associated with growth and bone mass later in childhood. These results are not consistent, and blinded randomised trials of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy with long-term follow-up are needed to determine the benefits, and possible risks, of maternal vitamin D status on offspring growth and bone development. The possibility of adverse outcomes with higher maternal 25-OHD concentrations should be considered and investigated in all ongoing and future studies.

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The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society





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