British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 104:309-314 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2010

Horizons in Nutritional Science

Avoidance of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy in the United Kingdom: the case for a unified approach in National policy

Elina Hyppönena1 c1 and Barbara J. Bouchera2 c1

a1 MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health, UCL Institute of Child Health and Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and biostatistics, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK
a2 Centre for Diabetes, Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Bart's and the London Medical and Dental School, 4 Newark Street, London E1 2AT, UK
Article author query
hyppönen e [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
boucher bj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in Western populations is high; pregnant women are identified as a high-risk group, especially if dark skinned. Consequences of severe clinical vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy can be life threatening to the newborn, while lesser degrees of hypovitaminosis D may have important long-term implications for offspring health. Past experiences with routine provision of 10 μg/d (400 IU/d) to all pregnant mothers suggest that this dose is sufficient to prevent overt neonatal complications of vitamin D deficiency. Recent data suggest that supplementation with dosages above 10 μg/d may be required for optimal health in the mother and child; however, further research is required for the assessment of the benefits and safety of supplementation with higher dosages. Lack of unified advice on vitamin D supplementation of pregnant mothers in the UK hinders the implementation of primary prevention strategies and is likely to leave some deficient mothers without supplementation.

(Received August 18 2009)

(Revised November 30 2009)

(Accepted January 27 2010)

(Online publication July 02 2010)

Key Words:Vitamin D; Pregnancy; Deficiency; Policy


c1 Corresponding authors: Dr E. Hyppönen, fax +44 20 7905 2381, email; Dr B. J. Boucher, email


Abbreviations: 25(OH)D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D; DoH, Department of Health