Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy: the Mediterranean reality

Karras, S.N., Anagnostis, P., Annweiler, C., Naughton, D.P., Petroczi, A., Bili, E., Harizopoulou, V., Tarlatzis, B.C., Persinaki, A., Papadopoulou, F. and Goulis, D.G. (2014) Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy: the Mediterranean reality. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 68(8), pp. 864-869. ISSN (print) 0954-3007


Vitamin D status during pregnancy is linked to bone mineralization of developing fetus, which justifies targeting sufficient levels of vitamin D in pregnant women. Despite high level of sunshine in the Mediterranean regions, maternal hypovitaminosis D remain common in these countries. The aim of this narrative review was to provide potential explanations for this phenomenon in an effort to guide future public health policies and vitamin D intakes during pregnancy. We searched Medline for publications regarding hypovitaminosis D during pregnancy in the Mediterranean region. Available studies confirmed the high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among pregnant women in the Mediterranean regions (50-65% in most studies), resulting in severe skeletal and nonskeletal health events among the offspring. Reasons for this may rely on maternal darker skin pigmentation, poor dietary vitamin D intake, veiled clothing and reduced sunshine exposure, health policies and increased prevalence of obesity. Public health organizations should be aware of this phenomenon and develop specific policies to prevent hypovitaminosis D and its adverse outcomes in maternal and neonatal health.

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