Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Pregnant Women Don't Need Vitamin D Screening

New Guidelines Say Screening for Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnancy Is Not Recommended
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 20, 2011 -- Routine screening of all pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency is not recommended, according to new guidelines issued by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Although vitamin D deficiency is considered common during pregnancy, the group says there is not enough good evidence to support widespread screening of all pregnant women.

Instead, the group says most pregnant women can ensure they're getting enough vitamin D by taking prenatal vitamins.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps the body absorb the calcium needed for healthy bone development. Most vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. But people can also get vitamin D in the diet through fortified milk and juice, fish oils, and dietary supplements.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy

Severe vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to abnormal skeletal development, congenital rickets, and bone fractures in newborns.

"Recent data suggests that vitamin D deficiency is common among pregnant women, particularly among high-risk groups such as vegetarians, those who have limited exposure to the sun, and women with darker skin tones," says researcher George A. Macones, MD, chair of ACOG's Committee on Obstetric Practice, in a news release.

The committee recommends that only groups at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency should be tested during pregnancy.

In their report, published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers say the problem is that there is no agreement on what the optimal level or safe upper limit of vitamin D supplementation should be during pregnancy.

Most experts agree that taking 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D is safe during pregnancy.

"Anything higher than this has not been studied," says Macones.

Until ongoing clinical trials on vitamin D and pregnancy are complete, he says most pregnant women can get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and prenatal vitamins.

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

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Woman looking at pregnancy test
calendar and baby buggy
dark chocolate squares