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Avoidance of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy in the United Kingdom: the case for a unified approach in National policy

  • Elina Hyppönen (a1) and Barbara J. Boucher (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114510002436
  • Published online: 02 July 2010
Abstract

Prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in Western populations is high; pregnant women are identified as a high-risk group, especially if dark skinned. Consequences of severe clinical vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy can be life threatening to the newborn, while lesser degrees of hypovitaminosis D may have important long-term implications for offspring health. Past experiences with routine provision of 10 μg/d (400 IU/d) to all pregnant mothers suggest that this dose is sufficient to prevent overt neonatal complications of vitamin D deficiency. Recent data suggest that supplementation with dosages above 10 μg/d may be required for optimal health in the mother and child; however, further research is required for the assessment of the benefits and safety of supplementation with higher dosages. Lack of unified advice on vitamin D supplementation of pregnant mothers in the UK hinders the implementation of primary prevention strategies and is likely to leave some deficient mothers without supplementation.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding authors: Dr E. Hyppönen, fax +44 20 7905 2381, email e.hypponen@ich.ucl.ac.uk; Dr B. J. Boucher, email bboucher@doctors.org.uk
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