Insufficient vitamin D supply in pregnancy may increase risk of skull deformation in infants

September 8, 2015

A new study from the Netherlands reports that insufficient vitamin D intake of pregnant women and their infants seems to be associated with an increased risk for positional skull deformations during infancy.

The observational study used a questionnaire to gather and compare information from mothers of 275 infants with positional skull deformations and 548 healthy infants on lifestyle and vitamin D intakes in pregnancy and early life (1). The study results showed that mothers who did not adhere to the recommendation of supplementing daily with 400 IU of vitamin D during their last trimester of pregnancy were 1.86 times more likely to have children with positional skull deformations.

Infants who did not receive the recommended 400 IU of daily vitamin D supplements were 7.15 times more likely to develop a skull deformation.The researchers commented that vitamin D is known for its important role in skeletal health. Infants are at the greatest risk for developing positional skull deformities (the formation of a flat or misshapen head) during the first four months of life. Laying an infant flat on his or her back to sleep is the major cause of positional skull deformations during infancy. The new findings provide an early infant life example of the importance of adequate vitamin D intake during pregnancy and infancy, the scientists concluded.


  1. Weernink M. G. et al. Insufficient vitamin D supplement use during pregnancy and early childhood: a risk factor for positional skull deformation. Matern Child Nutr. Published online November 2014.