e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy

Vitamin D is known to play an important role in bone metabolism through regulation of calcium and phosphate equilibrium. Vitamin D is produced by the body during exposure to sunlight, but is also found in oily fish, eggs and fortified food products.

Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be common among pregnant women in some populations, and has been found to be associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, preterm birth, and other tissue-specific conditions.

Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy improves maternal vitamin D status and may reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, low birthweight and preterm birth. However, the evidence currently available to directly assess the benefits and harms of the use of vitamin D supplementation alone in pregnancy for improving maternal and infant health outcomes is limited.

Pregnant women should be encouraged to receive adequate nutrition, which is best achieved through consumption of a healthy balanced diet.

WHO recommendations

Vitamin D supplementation is not recommended for pregnant women to improve maternal and perinatal outcomes.*

* This recommendation supercedes the previous recommendation found in the WHO guideline ‘Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women’ (2012).


Additional information for this recommendation can be found in the guidance summary and in the guideline, under 'WHO documents' below.

WHO documents

WHO Documents

GRC-approved guidelines


Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Other related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

15 June 2017 14:52 CEST

Category 1 intervention

Guidelines have been recently approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee


Implementation of this intervention is not recommended