• Sunshine Health Foundation

Special Message to Pregnant Women and Expecting Mothers

Updated: May 2



Lack of sufficient sun exposure during pregnancy can cause unnecessary pregnancy risks for you and can have devastating impacts on the health of your child. Here is what recent scientific studies have shown:


1. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk that your child will have asthma. Low maternal serum 25(OH)D triples the risk that male children will have asthma at age 6 and increases the lifetime risk that male and female offspring will develop lung disease. Zosky et al., Annals of the American Thoracic Society 2014; 11:571-577. Read the study here.


2. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth by 144%. Women with serum 25(OH)D less than 20 ng/mL compared to more than 40 ng/mL have a 133% increased risk of preterm birth.


Wagner et al., Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2016; 155:245-251. Read the study here.

3. Insufficient sun exposure of pregnant women and infants increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 75% of infants who die from SIDS have inadequate levels of 25(OH)D.


Cohen et al., Pediatric and Development Pathology 2013; 16:292-300. Read the study here.

4. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of type 1 diabetes in male children at ages 5-9 years by 67%. Less sun exposure (below the median) compared to more sun exposure (above the median) for women during pregnancy is associated with a 67% increased risk of type 1 diabetes in their male children at ages five to nine years.


Jacobsen et al., Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism 2016; 29:417–424. Read the study here.


5. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of having an autistic child by 142%. Maternal serum 25(OH)D concentrations at midgestation of less than 10 ng/mL compared to more than 20 ng/mL are correlated with a 142% increased risk of autism in the child.


Vinkhuyzen et al., British Journal of Psychiatry Open 2017: 3:85-90. Read the study here.


6. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of your child developing schizophrenia by 44%. Newborns with serum 25(OH)D less than 8 ng/mL compared to more than 14 ng/mL have a 44% increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.


Eyles et al., Scientific Reports 2018; 8:17692. Read the study here.

7. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy adversely affects brain development of the fetus and is associated with poor mental development to the extent that the chances of the infant developing an IQ over 110 are decreased by 50%. Insufficient sun exposure of pregnant women adversely affects brain development of fetus and is associated with poor mental development to the extent that the chances of the infant developing an IQ over 110 are decreased by 50%.


Morales et al., Pediatrics 2012; 130:e913-e920. Read the study here.


8. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk that your child will have learning disabilities. Sun exposure in the first trimester is especially important for fetal brain development. Pregnant women with the lowest quintile of sun exposure during pregnancy compared to the highest quintile have a 82% increased risk of having a child that experiences learning disabilities. Sun exposure in the first trimester is essential for fetal brain development.


Hastie et al., Scientific Reports 2019; 9:9356. Read the study here.


9. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk that your child will experience significant language difficulties. Pregnant women with serum 25(OH)D less than 18 ng/mL compared to more than 28 ng/mL had twice the risk of having a child that experienced significant language difficulties.


Whitehouse et al., Pediatrics 2012; 129:485-493. Read the study here.


10. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of your child developing juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Children with serum 25(OH)D less than 30 ng/mL are at increased risk of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.


Finch et al., Pediatric Rheumatology 2018; 16:34-51. Read the study here.


11. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity. Insufficient sun exposure of pregnant women increases the risk of childhood obesity.


Daraki et al., Pediatric Obesity 2018; 13(8): 467-475. Read the study here.


12. Insufficient sun exposure during pregnancy increases the risk that your child will experience high blood pressure. Children with serum 25(OH)D less than 11 ng/mL at birth and less than 25 ng/mL in early childhood have a 104% increased risk of high blood pressure at ages 3 to 18 years, and high blood pressure at these ages in an important determinant of subsequent hypertension and cardiovascular disease later in life.


Wang et al., Hypertension 2019; 74:421–430. Read the study here.


13. Insufficient sun exposure of during pregnancy increases the risk of multiple sclerosis in offspring. Pregnant women with serum 25(OH)D less than 12 ng/mL compared to more than 12 ng/mL in early pregnancy have a 90% increased risk of having a child with MS.


Munger et al., JAMA Neurology 2018; 73:515-519. Read the study here.


14. Insufficient sun exposure of women in the first 26 weeks of pregnancy increases the risk of severe preeclampsia by 67%. Preeclampsia in mothers resulting from insufficient sun exposure leads to high blood pressure in their children. Pregnant women with serum 25(OH)D less than 20 ng/mL compared to more than 20 ng/mL at 26 weeks gestation have a 67% higher risk of severe preeclampsia.


Bodnar et al., Epidemiology 2014; 25:207-214. Read the study here.


Maternal preeclampsia is associated with higher blood pressure in offspring from early childhood through adolescence.


Zhang et al., JAMA Network Open 2020; 3:e2019046. Read the study here.