Vitamin D may reduce the risk of premature birth

premature baby
Image by maria mono via Flickr

Taking a high daily dose of vitamin D during pregnancy can significantly reduce a woman’s risk of giving birth prematurely, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Medical University of Charleston, South Carolina, and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Five years ago the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence told doctors that women in Britain did not need to take vitamin D in pregnancy advice later overruled by the Chief Medical Officer.

The normally recommended level of sun exposure in the UK does not produce enough vitamin D, according to a separate study reported at the Bruges meeting (Oliver Gillie writes). Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D in the UK as elsewhere and so advice on sun exposure is crucial for health. Food cannot supply more than 10 per cent of what is needed.

This new research shows that advice, still given in the UK, that casual exposure of hands and face provides sufficient vitamin D is completely wrong. Revised advice from the Department of Health in December 2007 suggested that pregnant women would get sufficient vitamin D if they exposed shoulders as well as arms and legs. But this too is now shown to be insufficient by the study of simulated “British sunlight”.

At both 32 and 37 weeks, the rate of premature birth in the 4,000 IU group was half that of the 400 IU group. Significantly fewer “small for date” babies were also delivered to the 4,000 IU group.

In addition, women receiving more vitamin D were less likely to suffer from respiratory, vaginal, gum or other infections. They were 30 percent less likely to suffer from “core morbidities” of pregnancy, such as diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Babies born to women in the high vitamin D group had lower rates of colds and eczema than babies in the other group.

“I’m telling every pregnant mother I see to take 4,000 IUs and every nursing mother to take 6,400 IUs of vitamin D a day,” said researcher Bruce Hollis. “I think it is medical malpractice for obstetricians not to know what the vitamin D level of their patients is. This study will put them on notice.”

Sources for this story include: and

For premature baby clothing and accessories please visit our main website Prem2Pram

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Pregnancy Signs
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 09:25:38

    it’s a miracle getting pregnant since pregnancy is a gift from God, although some people maybe disagree with that.


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