A vitamin D deficiency may be common in early preterm infants

June 11, 2014

According to a new US study low blood vitamin D levels are widespread in women and their early preterm infants at birth. The infants may not receive adequate vitamin D supplementation during hospitalization.

The observational study assessed the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D concentrations at birth of 120 infants born at or before 32 weeks of conception and their mothers (1). The study found vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml in 63% of mothers, 64% of infants at birth, and 35% of infants at discharge from the hospital. Sixty percent of the infants had attained 400 IU of vitamin D by discharge.

The researchers concluded that neither the vitamin D intake, nor the recommended serum vitamin D concentrations above 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml) were attained in the majority of the early preterm infants. The vitamin D levels of the infants were directly correlated with maternal vitamin D status at birth. Therefore, vitamin D status should be optimized in pregnant women as part of strategy to replete the offspring. The scientists called for increased attention to vitamin D levels and supplementation of vitamin D among early preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units to assure sufficient vitamin D levels. Early preterm infants are at an additional risk for vitamin D deficiency, since they often do not have adequate time for proper development and nutrient transfer from the mother.


  1. Monangi N. et al. Vitamin D status of early preterm infants and the effects of vitamin D intake during hospital stay. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 2014; 99(2):166–168.