How effective is public health policy in Scotland on vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy?

Ruth Campbell, Christopher Curran*, Jonathan Hayward, Jon Godwin, Susan Johnston, Julie Armstrong, Andrew Collier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: To evaluate the uptake of universal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy, its effectiveness in preventing vitamin D deficiency and the factors associated with these. Design: The regional public health organisation in Ayrshire, Scotland has a policy of universal provision of vitamin D supplements (10 g/d) to all pregnant women for the duration of their pregnancy. Pregnant women in this area were recruited at their 12-week antenatal appointment. Blood samples were collected at the 12-week and 34-week appointments. To account for the seasonal variation, women were recruited in two cohorts: summer and winter. Telephone interviews were conducted at 34 weeks to assess the uptake of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy. Other variables were obtained from medical records. Setting: The study was conducted in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran Health Board in Scotland. Participants: 612 pregnant women (aged 15-44 years) living in Ayrshire (latitude 55°), Scotland. Results: Sixty-six percentage took supplementation as recommended. Consumption of supplementation was significantly associated with a higher median serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations at 34 weeks. Despite this at 34 weeks, 33 % of the summer cohort had insufficient or deficient vitamin D status, while 15 % of the winter cohort had insufficient or deficient status. In multivariable analysis, only adherence and season were independent predictors of vitamin D status. Conclusions: While supplementation improved and maintained vitamin D status during pregnancy, it was not adequate to ensure all those insufficient at 12 weeks achieved sufficient status at the end of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3311-3319
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number12
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • deficiency
  • pregnancy
  • supplementation
  • Vitamin D
  • Pregnancy
  • Deficiency
  • Supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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