Background Preeclampsia is considered a major cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The aim of the present case-control study in Sweden was to assess the hypothesized association between low serum vitamin D concentrations in early pregnancy and the risk of developing preeclampsia since vitamin D may play a role in early placental development. Methods The study included 296 women diagnosed with preeclampsia (cases) and 580 healthy pregnant women (controls). Serum samples were obtained from a biobank of samples collected in early pregnancy including almost all pregnancies in Southern Sweden. Concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D) were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandemmass- spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). The cases were divided into two categories: i) infants were born before gestational week 34 (early onset) and/or born small-for-gestational age (SGA)(n = 51), ii) and others defined as late onset (n = 245). Vitamin D concentrations were analyzed both as a continuous and a categorized variable. Results When all preeclampsia cases were included in the analyses no consistent patterns were observed. However, the median serum concentrations of vitamin D were significantly lower among the cases who were early onset and/or were born SGA (median 39.2 nmol/L, range 1.2-93.6) as compared to the controls (49.0 nmol/L, 0.1-219; p = 0.01). In addition, high concentrations were statistically significantly associated with a decreased risk of preeclampsia (>66.9 vs ≤30.1 nmol/L; crude OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16-0.96). When potential confounders were included in the models the associations were even more pronounced. Conclusions Our results support the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for preeclampsia, but only in preeclampsia cases who were early-onset and/or were born SGA. Preeclampsia is not a homogenous condition and more studies are needed before vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy can be recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281234
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2 February
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


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