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Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy May Lead to Developmental Problems in Children

A new study suggests that it may be time to add vitamin D to the list of prenatal vitamins. The study found that vitamin D deficiency in mothers during pregnancy may be associated with delayed social development and motor skills when children reach preschool age.


Participants in the study included 7,065 mother-child pairs who took part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Total serum vitamin D levels were measured during pregnancy, and offspring neurodevelopment was tested at 6-42 months, 7 years, 8 years and 9 years.


The researchers found that pregnant women who were vitamin D deficient — which they defined as less than 50 nmol per liter in the blood — were more likely to have children who scored in the bottom 25% in preschool development tests for gross and fine motor development at age 2.5, when compared to children with vitamin D sufficient mothers. Tests included kicking a ball, balancing, jumping, holding a pencil, and building a tower with bricks.


They also found that vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy negatively affected the child’s social development at age 3.5. No associations were found between maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy and IQ and reading ability at 7 to 9 years old.


Researchers from the University of Surrey conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 12, 2017, in the British Journal of Nutrition.


Consumption of vitamin D has been linked to reducing the risk of osteoporosis and high blood pressure in mature adults, improving kidney health, reducing the risk of skin cancer, improving cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.


Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process vitamin D as we age. This can be a particular problem for people living in the northern hemisphere, where sunlight is scarce for much of the year. A high quality vitamin D3 supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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