FREE Pregnancy

Request A Callback

Fill in your details and our team will get back to you shortly.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Request A Callback

What Happens if Vitamin D is Low in Pregnancy?

Did you know Vitamin D is both a nutrient and a hormone? Yes, it is a hormone your body produces and a nutrient it absorbs from external sources. Unlike popular belief that standing under the sun helps our bodies "absorb" Vitamin D, your skin actually "makes" the Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Various factors affect the amount of Vitamin D your body makes or absorbs.

When your body does not get enough Vitamin D, it can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. Although this may not have any serious impact on many, what if you have a severe Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy? Will it impact the pregnancy or the baby?

Book an online appointment with Dr. Sowmya Kulkarni for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues

Importance of Vitamin D in Pregnancy

First, let's understand why Vitamin D is important in pregnancy and it's role in a healthy pregnancy.

Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption, which in turn promotes the health of your teeth, bones and nails. Vitamin D also helps maintain the health of your immune system and brain and reduces inflammation in the body.

In pregnancy, Vitamin D plays a vital role in ensuring good bone health and development in the fetus. It also improves fetal growth, thus reducing the risk of the fetus being small for gestational age. Vitamin D is also important in reducing the risks of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or preterm delivery.

Impact of Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy

Vitamin D deficiency is not unheard of among pregnant women, especially in the high-risk category. So, if your Vitamin D levels are a little low, do not panic. Consult your gynaecologist to decide on the best course of action. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy can affect the expecting mother in the following ways:

  • Preeclampsia – High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Gestational Diabetes – High blood glucose levels during pregnancy
  • Preterm Birth – The baby is born before completing 37 weeks
  • Muscle weakening in hip or leg joints, making it difficult to move as weight increases
  • Osteoporosis after a few years- weakening of the bones leading to an increased risk of fractures
  • Low bone density- A decline in bone mineral density, increasing the risk of injury and fractures.

Impact of Vitamin D Deficiency on Fetus

Vitamin D is very important for immunity and bone health. Both develop in the fetal stage and will determine the baby's health after birth. During the fetal stage, the cells start dividing rapidly to form the various parts of the body. When Vitamin D levels are insufficient during this time, it will affect the speed and quality of cell division. As a result, the fetus will not develop fully or as per expectations, leading to underweight, underdevelopment, etc.

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can also influence the physiological functions of the baby's organs, as it can impact how well they develop. It can cause permanent changes to the baby's organs and gene pattern. Vitamin D deficiency can also affect how well the lungs develop. If the lungs don't develop well, it can lead to breathing issues or asthma, affecting the baby's health.

Research evidence also shows that nutrient deficiency can alter the metabolic and immune programming of the fetus during the developmental stage. There is not much information about reversing such impacts on the fetus. Though some diseases can be controlled or improved with Vitamin D and other supplements or medications for the baby, it may not be feasible for all health complications.

Impact of Vitamin D Deficiency After Pregnancy

If a pregnant woman has very low Vitamin D levels during her pregnancy, it can affect both her health and the baby's health after the delivery. Some possible effects of Vitamin D deficiency on the baby and the mother after the delivery are

  • The mother may not lactate well, leading to insufficient breast milk. It can also affect the quality of the breast milk.
  • The mother can suffer a calcium deficiency, which can affect her bone health as she ages.
  • The mother can continue to suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes even after delivery (as a result of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes).
  • The baby might have weak or undeveloped bones.
  • The baby might develop serious conditions like Rickets.
  • The baby is prone to many infections or illnesses as the deficiency can affect the immune health.
  • If the baby develops serious health issues due to a weak immune system, it can alter the baby's genes and pass on to the next generation genetically.

Can You Take Vitamin D Supplements During Pregnancy?

According to WHO, Vitamin D supplementation to reduce a deficiency during pregnancy can reduce the risks of preeclampsia, preterm delivery, low birth weight, gestational diabetes, or a baby being small for gestational age. However, there is insufficient research on using just Vitamin D supplements to meet the requirements during pregnancy, and the data available is very limited.

So, the WHO recommends that pregnant women take supplements only after a doctor's recommendation and that expecting mothers consume foods rich in Vitamin D as well.

If you have a severe Vitamin D deficiency, consult your doctor and ask for supplements and Vitamin D-rich foods during pregnancy. Severe Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can affect maternal health, lactation, and even the baby's health after birth.


Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and hormone for the human body. The human skin's ability to synthesise Vitamin D from sun exposure reduces with age. Various factors affect Vitamin D levels in the body. Ensure you have sufficient Vitamin D in your body during pregnancy. Consuming nutritious foods rich in Vitamin D, among other nutrients, is the best option during pregnancy.


1. When should you start taking Vitamin D during pregnancy?

It is advisable to take Vitamin D supplements in the winter when sun exposure is limited or insufficient. However, only a doctor can advise the duration, dosage and when to take such supplements. Pregnant women can take multivitamins that can boost overall health. A Vitamin D supplement is necessary only in case of a deficiency.

2. Is Vitamin D deficiency serious in pregnancy?

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, brain development, and immune health. A deficiency can affect the fetus' bone formation, brain development and immune system, among many others.

3. How can I increase my Vitamin D during pregnancy?

If necessary, your doctor will prescribe supplements. In general, it is advisable to consume foods rich in Vitamin D, spend some time out in the sun, and follow a nutritious diet to maintain hormonal balance.

4. Can Vitamin D deficiency affect pregnancy loss?

In very rare cases, when the Vitamin D levels are very low, it can affect the formation and development of the fetus. This, in turn, can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, baby not developing fully, or even pregnancy loss.

5. Can low Vitamin D affect getting pregnant?

Some studies show that Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of fertility issues. For women who are opting for fertility treatments like IVF or ART, low Vitamin D levels can reduce the success rate. In men, low Vitamin D levels can lead to poor semen quality, which in turn can affect the chances of conception.

Want to consult the best gynecologists in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Gynecologists in Hyderabad
  2. Top Gynecologists in Chennai
  3. Best Gynecologists in Bangalore
  4. Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists in Mumbai
  5. Top Gynecologists near me in Pune
  6. Best Obstetricians & Gynecologists in Chandigarh
  7. Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists near me in Gurgaon
  8. Best Gynecologists near me in Noida
  9. Top Gynecologist near me in Panchkula
  10. Best Gynecologist in Ludhiana
  11. Top Gynecologist In Delhi
  12. Top Gynecologists in Faridabad

Want to consult the best Maternity Packages in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Maternity Packages in Bengaluru
  2. Best Maternity Packages in Chandigarh
  3. Best Maternity Packages in Chennai
  4. Best Maternity Packages in Faridabad
  5. Best Maternity Packages in Gurugram
  6. Best Maternity Packages in Hyderabad
  7. Best Maternity Packages in Ludhiana
  8. Best Maternity Packages in Mumbai
  9. Best Maternity Packages in New Delhi
  10. Best Maternity Packages in Noida
  11. Best Maternity Packages in Panchkula
  12. Best Maternity Packages in Pune
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.