Am J Perinatol 2011; 28(1): 007-012
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1262505
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency is Common during Pregnancy

Donna D. Johnson1 , Carol L. Wagner2 , Thomas C. Hulsey3 , Rebecca B. McNeil4 , Myla Ebeling3 , Bruce W. Hollis2
  • 1Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
  • 2Division of Pediatric Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Research Institution, Charleston, South Carolina
  • 3Division of Pediatric Epidemiology, Department of Pediatrics, Rutledge Tower, Charleston, South Carolina
  • 4Department of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
16 July 2010 (online)


The objective was to determine the incidence of vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency, and sufficiency in African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian pregnant women. Blood samples were taken from 154 African-American, 194 Hispanic, and 146 Caucasian women at <14 weeks of gestation; 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels (25(OH)D) levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. The mean 25(OH)D levels in African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian pregnant women were 15.5 ± 7.2 (standard deviation), 24.1 ± 8.7, 29.0 ± 8.5 ng/mL, respectively. Ninety-seven percent of African-Americans, 81% of Hispanics, and 67% of Caucasians were deficient (25(OH)D levels <20 ng/mL or <50 nmol/L) or insufficient (25(OH)D levels ≥20 ng/mL or <32 ng/mL or ≥50 nmol/L or <80 nmol/L). Of these pregnant women, 82% had vitamin D levels <32 ng/mL (<80 ng/mL). In logistic regression models, race was the most important risk factor for vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. African-American women and Hispanic women were more likely to have vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency than Caucasian women. Furthermore, primigravid women were more at risk for vitamin D insufficiency. This study demonstrates widespread vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in pregnant females living at a southern latitude. African-Americans are at greatest risk.


Donna D Johnson, M.D. 

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina

96 Jonathan Lucas Street, CSB 634, Charleston, SC 29425-0619

Email: [email protected]