Maternal early-pregnancy vitamin D status in relation to linear growth at the age of 5–6 years: results of the ABCD cohort

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Low vitamin D status during pregnancy may be associated with infant skeletal growth. However, evidence on the longer-term effect is limited. This study aims to assess the association between maternal vitamin D status in early pregnancy and markers of linear growth (height, leg length and relative leg length) of the child at age 5–6 years.


A subsample of data from the Amsterdam Born Children and Development (ABCD) study was used. Ethnic Dutch pregnant women and their children (n = 1208) were included. Maternal serum vitamin D level was determined at first antenatal visit (median 13 weeks, interquartile range: 12–14). We investigated the association of maternal vitamin D, corrected for season, with height, leg length and relative leg length at age 5–6 years.


Linear regression analyses showed no significant association between maternal vitamin D levels (nmol/l) and height (cm) (B = −0.006; P = 0.205), leg length (cm) (B = −0.002, P = 0.540) or relative leg length (%) (B = 0.001; P = 0.579). Adjustment for potential confounders (parental heights, maternal educational level, alcohol use during pregnancy, child sex, child age at measurement and child screen time) did not change these results.


Maternal vitamin D level was not associated with early linear growth in children. Other factors, such as parental height, appear to be more important.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) 67, 972–977; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.106; published online 12 June 2013

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