INTRODUCTION: Low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy have been associated with the risk of a variety of pregnancy outcomes. Few studies have investigated vitamin D concentrations throughout pregnancy in healthy women, and most guidelines recommend high vitamin D levels. In the present study, we investigated 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in healthy Caucasian Danish women in relation to season, gestational age and possible vitamin D-linked complications.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eight hundred and one healthy Caucasian Danish women with an expected normal pregnancy were recruited among 2147 women attending first trimester screening. Seven blood samplings were planned throughout the pregnancy and delivery period. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 (25(OH)D2) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) concentrations were measured by LC-MS/MS and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were calculated.
RESULTS: A total of 3304 samples from 694 women were available for 25(OH)D measurements. The mean (25th-75th percentiles) concentrations of 25(OH)D, 25(OH)D3, and 25(OH)D2 were 54.6 (38.8-68.6) nmol/L, 52.2 (36.4-66.4) nmol/L, and 2.4 (2.2-2.2) nmol/L, respectively. Season was the strongest predictor of 25(OH)D concentration, with the lowest values observed in winter and spring, where only 42% and 41% of samples, respectively, were above 50 nmol/L. Nearly all women had values below the suggested optimal level of 75 nmol/L, independent of season. 25(OH)D peaked at gestational weeks 21-34. Plasma 25(OH)D2 levels were low in all seasons. Women with complications during pregnancy had higher 25(OH)D (estimated difference 9.8 nmol/L, standard error 2.7, p<0.001) than did women without complications, and women giving birth vaginally had lower 25(OH)D than did those delivering via elective (10.0 nmol/L, standard error 2.1, p<0.001) or emergency cesarean section (6.8 nmol/L, standard error 2.2, p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: The 25(OH)D concentrations vary with both season and gestational age. Healthy women had lower 25(OH)D concentrations than recommended, without an association with an increased risk of pregnancy complications. Guidelines for vitamin D in pregnancy may require revision.