American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists rejects routine screening for vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy

August 1, 2011

More information is needed before physicians should start routinely screening pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency, according to an ACOG recently issued committee opinion statement.

More information is needed before physicians should start routinely screening pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said in a recently issued committee opinion statement.

ACOG's Committee on Obstetric Practice writes that although evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy-especially among women who are vegetarians, those with limited sun exposure, and minorities with darker skin-no consensus exists on the optimal level of vitamin D during pregnancy. Without that, routine screening is pointless.

For women thought to be at risk for vitamin D deficiency, maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels can be helpful. If a deficiency is identified, most experts agree that 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D is safe; researchers have not studied sufficiently higher amounts during pregnancy.

In the end, the committee advises physicians that recommending that their pregnant patients take vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy beyond that contained in a prenatal vitamin is inappropriate until ongoing randomized clinical trials are completed.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 495: Vitamin D: screening and supplementation during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;118(1):197-198.