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Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy linked to child’s motor skills

Pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have children with poorer motor development, a study has found.

Pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have children with poorer motor development, a study has found

vitamin
Low levels of vitamin D in pregnant women were found to affect
the development of their children. Picture: iStock

Pregnant women with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have children with poorer motor development such as the ability to jump, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol examined data from over 7,000 mothers and their children.

Children were assessed at age two and a half for their coordination, such as kicking a ball, balancing and jumping and their use of fine muscles, including holding a pencil and building a tower with bricks.

10 micrograms

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 10 micrograms. It is found in small amounts in red meat, eggs, fortified fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

Source: NHS Choices

The researchers found pregnant women who were deficient in vitamin D – less than 50 nanomoles per litre of blood – were more likely to have children with low scores (bottom 25%) in pre-school development tests than vitamin D sufficient mothers.

Vitamin D insufficiency in pregnancy was also found to affect a child’s social development at age three and a half.

Lead author Andrea Darling said vitamin D ‘is well-known to be good for our musculoskeletal systems, but our research shows that if levels are low in expectant mothers, it can affect the development of their children in their early years of life’.


Darling A et al (2017) Association between maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Bristol Journal of Nutrition doi:10.1017/S0007114517001398

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