Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may impair maternal and fetal outcomes

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jan;74(1):71-5. Epub 2009 Aug 18.

Lapillonne A.

Over the past decade, new evidence has shown that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the risk of developing a wide range of common chronic diseases that are different from the classic action on calcium and bone homeostasis. Acting through the vitamin D receptor, vitamin D can produce a wide array of favorable biological effects via genomic, non-genomic or intracrine mechanisms and, therefore, contributes to the improvement of human health in humans. We hypothesize that some of these effects may be even more critical during pregnancy. The focus of this paper is to review the data on the classic and non-classic actions of vitamin D with regards to pregnancy. It appears that vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy is potentially associated with increased risk of preeclampsia, insulin resistance and gestational diabetes mellitus. Furthermore, experimental data also anticipate that vitamin D sufficiency is critical for fetal development, and especially for fetal brain development and immunological functions. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may, therefore, not only impair maternal skeletal preservation and fetal skeletal formation but also be vital to the fetal “imprinting” that may affect chronic disease susceptibility soon after birth as well as later in life.