Association of cord blood vitamin D with early childhood growth and neurodevelopment

Jacqueline F. Gould, Amanda J. Anderson, Lisa N. Yelland, Lisa G. Smithers, C. Murray Skeaff, Shao J. Zhou, Robert A. Gibson, Maria Makrides

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The association between fetal vitamin D [25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)] exposure and early child growth and neurodevelopment is controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between cord blood 25(OH)D and birth size, childhood growth and neurodevelopment. Methods: Cord blood samples from 1040 Australian women enrolled in a randomised trial of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation during pregnancy were analysed for 25(OH)D using mass spectroscopy. Infant length, weight and head circumference were measured at delivery. A sub-sample of 337 infants with cord blood samples were selected for growth and neurodevelopment assessment at 18 months and 4 years of age. Associations between standardised 25(OH)D and outcomes were assessed, taking into account DHA treatment, social and demographic variables. Results: Standardised 25(OH)D in cord blood was not associated with length, weight or head circumference at birth, 18 months or 4 years of age. 25(OH)D was not associated with cognitive, motor, social-emotional or adaptive behaviour scores at 18 months, or cognitive score at 4 years of age. A 10 nmol/L increase in cord blood 25(OH)D was associated with a modest increase in average Language scores of 0.60 points at 18 months (adjusted 95% CI 0.04–1.17, P =.04) and 0.68 points at 4 years (adjusted 95% CI 0.07–1.29, P =.03) of age. Conclusions: Cord blood vitamin D was modestly, positively associated with language development in early childhood in our sample, although the magnitude of the association was small. Randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm a causal association and establish the potential clinical significance of the relationship between vitamin D status and language development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • cognition
  • cord blood
  • infant growth
  • language development
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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