Vitamin D and fetal-neonatal calcium homeostasis: Findings from a randomized controlled trial of high-dose antenatal vitamin D supplementation

Jennifer Harrington, Nandita Perumal, Abdullah Al Mahmud, Abdullah Baqui, Daniel E. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: There is current interest in the maternal-fetal effects of antenatal vitamin D supplementation, yet little data regarding vitamin D's role in neonatal calcium homeostasis. We determined to assess the effect of high-dose antenatal vitamin D supplementation on fetal and neonatal calcium concentrations. Methods: In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in Bangladesh, 160 pregnant women were randomized to oral vitamin D3 (35,000 IU/wk) or placebo from 26 to 29 wk of gestation. Results: Total serum calcium (Ca) was higher in cord blood of those supplemented vs. placebo (2.66 ± 0.1 vs. 2.61 ± 0.2 mmol/l; P = 0.04), but the difference in albumin-adjusted calcium was not statistically significant. Change in Ca concentration from birth to day 3 of life was attenuated by vitamin D (-0.10 ± 0.17) compared with placebo (-0.22 ± 0.18 mmol/l; P = 0.02). Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) (P = 0.04) and cord 25(OH)D (P <0.01) were associated with day 3 infant Ca, suggesting that the effect of supplementation was mediated by change in maternal-infant vitamin D status. Six infants in each of the supplemented and placebo groups had transient hypercalcemia/hypercalcuria; in all the hypercalcemia/hypercalcuria was asymptomatic, spontaneously resolved, and unassociated with nephrocalcinosis at 1 mo of life. Conclusion: High-dose antenatal third-trimester vitamin D supplementation attenuated the early postnatal calcium nadir, without increasing the risk of postnatal hypercalcemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)

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