Association between vitamin D status in early pregnancy and atopy in offspring in a vitamin D deplete cohort

  • Maeve Smith
  • Eileen C. O’Brien
  • Goiuri Alberdi
  • Aisling A. Geraghty
  • Mark Kilbane
  • Malachi J. McKenna
  • Fionnuala M. McAuliffeEmail author
Original Article



Vitamin D status may play a role in the development of atopic diseases due to its action on lung development and immune system development and function.


Our objective was to assess whether 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels in maternal blood in pregnancy were associated with atopy in children.


We analysed 279 mother-child pairs from the ROLO study conducted in Dublin, Ireland. Serum 25OHD was measured at 13 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Development of childhood atopy was self-reported by mothers at follow-up appointments at 6 months, 2 years or 5 years. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate associations between maternal 25OHD status and development of atopy.


The mean (SD) 25OHD levels in early and late pregnancy were 41.9 (19.2) nmol/L and 40.2 (21.6) nmol/L, respectively. Maternal 25OHD status in early pregnancy, but not in late pregnancy, was associated with a reduced risk of atopy at 2 years (OR 0.972, CI 0.946–0.999). In early pregnancy, those with serum 25OHD levels < 30 nmol/L compared with those with 25OHD > 50 nmol/L had significantly greater risk of developing atopy at 2 years (OR 4.76, CI 1.38–16.47).


The development of childhood atopy may be associated with maternal vitamin D deficiency in early pregnancy among a cohort of women at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Further research is required to explore the relationship between vitamin D and atopy, particularly among women with poor vitamin D status, and whether supplementation should be prioritised in early pregnancy to reduce childhood atopy.


Atopic disease Childhood Longitudinal study Pregnancy ROLO Vitamin D 



This study was supported by the Health Research Board Ireland and the Health Research Centre for Health and Diet Research.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013), project EarlyNutrition under grant agreement no. 289346

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki with institutional ethics approval from the National Maternity Hospital, Ireland, and informed, written maternal consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCD Perinatal Research Centre, School of MedicineUniversity College Dublin, National Maternity HospitalDublinIreland
  2. 2.Departments of Clinical ChemistrySt Vincent’s University HospitalDublinIreland
  3. 3.Departments of Clinical Chemistry and EndocrinologySt Vincent’s University HospitalDublinIreland
  4. 4.School of MedicineUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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