Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

High Doses of Vitamin D May Cut Pregnancy Risks

Study Shows 4,000 IU a Day of Vitamin D May Reduce Preterm Birth and Other Risks

Vitamin D and Pregnancy: Is More Better?

University of Rochester professor of pediatrics Ruth Lawrence, MD, has been recording vitamin D levels in new mothers and their infants for three years. She did not take part in the new study.

Lawrence, who chairs the breastfeeding committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says exclusively breastfed babies whose mothers have low vitamin D levels and who don't take vitamin supplements are most likely to be deficient.

"It is clear that both for mothers and their babies, vitamin D levels are low," she tells WebMD. "This is true in northern areas like Rochester and in sunny climates like Charleston."

Lawrence sees no problem with the recommendation that women take 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily during pregnancy, although she says the impact of high doses of vitamin D on pregnancy-related complications remains to be proven.

"Four thousand IU may sound outrageous to some, but I believe it is really not unreasonable," she says.

"We have been searching for the causes of preeclampsia and premature birth for many years. It is reassuring that the risk of these complications are lower for women taking extra vitamin D, but it is premature to say it is the cause."

The independent health policy group the Institute of Medicine recommends 200 IU to 400 IU of vitamin D a day for everyone, including pregnant women, but this recommendation is under review. Revised guidelines are expected late this summer.

1|2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

Woman smiling as she reads pregnancy test
Slideshow
pregnant woman with salad
Quiz
 
pregnancy am i pregnant
Article
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
 

slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 

pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video