Vitamin D status of White pregnant women and infants at birth and 4 months in North West England: A cohort study

A. J.B. Emmerson, K. Dockery, M. Z. Mughal, S. A. Roberts, C. L. Tower, J. L. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant white-skinned women (WSW) and their infants has not been investigated at northern latitudes in a developed county. A 2-year observational cohort study was undertaken in the North West of England to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels in WSW and their infants during pregnancy and 4 months postdelivery and to explore factors associated with these levels. Nutritional and lifestyle questionnaires were completed and 25OHD levels measured at 28 weeks and 4 months postdelivery. Twenty-seven percent and 7% of WSW had insufficient and deficient levels of 25OHD during pregnancy and 48% and 11% four months postdelivery. WSW with Fitzpatrick skin-type I (FST I) have significantly lower 25OHD than other skin types after controlling for time spent outside and vitamin D intake. Twenty-four percent and 13% of infants had insufficient and deficient 25OHD levels at 4 months. Unsupplemented breast-fed infants have the highest level of insufficiency (67%) compared with formula-fed infants (2%). Factors associated with infant serum 25OHD levels at 4 months included breast feeding, supplementation, and time outside. WSW have a high prevalence of insufficiency and deficiency during pregnancy which doubles 4 months after birth. Breast-fed infants of WSW are rarely considered at risk of vitamin D insufficiency but have high rates compared with formula-fed infants. This is the first study to show the finding that FST I WSW have significantly lower levels of 25OHD than those with FST II-IV (difference adjusted for diet and time outside 14 (95%CI 7-21) nmol/L).

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Early online date18 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Breast feeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Vitamin D


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