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Vitamin D deficiency for neonates

Key messages

  • Babies of women who are dark-skinned or veiled may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • All pregnant women should be screened in early pregnancy and treated for Vitamin D deficiency in the first trimester.
  • Screening of the newborn's vitamin D status is not required. It is the mother's status that should be assessed.
  • Hypocalcaemia secondary to vitamin D deficiency should be considered in newborn infants with seizures and maternal risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency. 

Vitamin D deficiency should be considered in babies born to mothers at risk (women who are veiled, dark skinned, or have poor nutrition).

All pregnant women, especially those who are dark-skinned or veiled, should be screened in early pregnancy and treated for vitamin D deficiency in the first trimester of each pregnancy.

Breastfed infants of dark skinned or veiled women (with unknown vitamin D status) should be supplemented with vitamin D 400 IU per day for the first 12 months of life as there is inadequate vitamin D in breast milk.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in the newborn may include hypocalcaemic seizures

Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in infants

Risk factors for reduced intake or synthesis of vitamin D include:

Reduced sun exposure (environmental or intentional) may be due to:

Malabsorption may also be a factor in low vitamin D levels.

Signs of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants

Signs of vitamin D deficiency include:

Diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in the mother

It is the mother who is assessed:

Definition of deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is defined as:

Management of the newborn

Management of the newborn with vitamin D deficiency includes:

Hypocalcaemia

Hypocalcaemia secondary to vitamin D deficiency should be considered in newborn infants with seizures and maternal risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency. 

Treatment of hypocalcaemia depends on whether or not the newborn is seizing:

More information

Clinical

References