e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy for the prevention of pre-eclampsia

Vitamin D comes primarily from exposure to sunlight. It is found in only a few foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified dairy products.

Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women has been associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Observational studies suggest that vitamin D levels during pregnancy influence fetal bone development and children’s growth, although it is not clear if maternal vitamin D deficiency leads to neonatal rickets.

To improve maternal and fetal vitamin D status during pregnancy, several health agencies have recommended vitamin D supplementation for pregnant women. However, there is significant variation in the dosage recommendations and the effects and safety of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy are undergoing review. At this time, WHO does not recommend vitamin D supplementation to prevent the development of pre-eclampsia and its complications during pregnancy.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines


Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Clinical trials

Last update:

25 March 2014 13:29 CET

Category 1 intervention

Guidelines have been recently approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee


Implementation of this intervention is not recommended