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Prenatal vitamin D screening may protect against adverse pregnancy outcomes

Posted on: May 23, 2018   by  Vitamin D Council


Vitamin D deficiency is a health concern for a large percentage of the population, including pregnant women. Evidence suggests that as vitamin D deficiency increases, so do pregnancy complications. In a new study, researchers looked at whether prenatal screening was effective at helping to optimize 25(OH)D levels and further preventing complications of birth.

The researchers conducted a randomized control trial on a group of 800 pregnant women from two cities in Khuzestan, Iran. The participants from Masjed-Soleyman were assigned to the screening group, while those from Shushtar were assigned to the non-screening group. Moderate vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25(OH)D levels between 10-20 ng/ml, and severe deficiency was defined as 25(OH)D levels <10 ng/ml.

Women in the screening group who were either moderately or severely vitamin D deficient were randomly divided into 8 groups supplement groups (ranging from 50,000 IU/week orally to 300,000 IU injections) until time of delivery.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Post supplementation, 53% of women in the screened group met sufficiency levels (>20 ng/ml), whereas only 2% of the women in the non-screened group met that level.
  • Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, preterm delivery and other complications were decreased by 60%, 50% and 40% in the screening site, respectively.
  • Monthly maintenance of 50,000 IU and a D3 injection was the biggest contributor to reaching sufficient levels upon delivery.

The researchers concluded:

Prenatal vitamin D screening and treatment program is an effective approach in detecting deficient women, improving 25(OH)D levels and decreasing pregnancy adverse outcomes.”


Rostami, M. et al. Effectiveness of prenatal vitamin D deficiency scre ening and treatment program: a stratified randomized field trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2018.

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