Prenatal maternal and cord blood vitamin D concentrations and negative affectivity in infancy

Sara Sammallahti, Elisa Holmlund-Suila, Runyu Zou, Saara Valkama, Jenni Rosendahl, Maria Enlund-Cerullo, Helena Hauta-alus, Marius Lahti-Pulkkinen, Hanan El Marroun, Henning Tiemeier, Outi Mäkitie, Sture Andersson, Katri Räikkönen, Kati Heinonen

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Higher maternal vitamin D concentration during pregnancy is associated with better child mental health. Negative affectivity, an early-emerging temperamental trait, indicates an increased risk of psychopathology. We investigated if maternal early/mid-pregnancy 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and neonatal cord blood 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with Negative affectivity in infancy. We studied term-born infants from the vitamin D Intervention in Infants study (VIDI, n = 777, follow-up rate 80%, Finland), and the Generation R Study (n = 1505, follow-up rate 40%, Netherlands). We measured maternal serum 25(OH)D at 6–27 weeks (VIDI) or 18–25 weeks (Generation R) of pregnancy, and cord blood 25(OH)D at birth (both cohorts). Caregivers rated infant Negative affectivity at 11.7 months (VIDI) or 6.5 months (Generation R) using the Revised Infant Behavior Questionnaire. Using linear regression, we tested associations between 25(OH)D and Negative affectivity adjusted for infant age, sex, season of 25(OH)D measurement, maternal age, education, smoking, and body-mass-index. Per 10 nmol/l increase in maternal early/mid-pregnancy 25(OH)D, infant Negative affectivity decreased by 0.02 standard deviations (95% confidence interval [CI] − 0.06, − 0.004) in VIDI, and 0.03 standard deviations (95% CI − 0.03, − 0.01) in Generation R. Cord blood 25(OH)D was associated with Negative affectivity in Generation R (− 0.03, 95% CI − 0.05, − 0.01), but not VIDI (0.00, 95% CI − 0.02, 0.02). Lower maternal 25(OH)D concentrations were consistently associated with higher infant Negative affectivity, while associations between cord blood 25(OH)D concentrations and Negative affectivity were less clear. Maternal vitamin D status during early- and mid-pregnancy may be linked with early-emerging differences in offspring behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-609
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Infant mental health
  • Negative affectivity
  • Nutrition
  • Prenatal
  • Temperament
  • Vitamin D

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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