BACKGROUND: Maternal vitamin D deficiency has been associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, but its association with fetal growth restriction remains uncertain. We sought to elucidate the association between maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations in early pregnancy and the risk of small-for-gestational age birth (SGA) and explore the association between maternal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene and the risk of SGA.

METHODS: We conducted a nested case-control study of nulliparous pregnant women with singleton pregnancies who delivered SGA infants (n = 77 white and n = 34 black) or non-SGA infants (n = 196 white and n = 105 black). Women were followed from <16 wk gestation to delivery. Women's banked sera at <22 wk were newly measured for 25(OH)D and DNA extracted for VDR genotyping. SGA was defined as live-born infants that were <10th percentile of birth weight according to nomograms based on gender and gestational age.

RESULTS: After confounder adjustment, there was a U-shaped relation between serum 25(OH)D and risk of SGA among white mothers, with the lowest risk from 60 to 80 nmol/L. Compared with serum 25(OH)D 37.5-75 nmol/L, SGA odds ratios (95% CI) for levels <37.5 and >75 nmol/L were 7.5 (1.8, 31.9) and 2.1 (1.2, 3.8), respectively.

CONCLUSION: There was no relation between 25(OH)D and SGA risk among black mothers. One SNP in the VDR gene among white women and 3 SNP in black women were significantly associated with SGA. Our results suggest that vitamin D has a complex relation with fetal growth that may vary by race.