The present cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the vitamin D status of pregnant Indian women and their breast-fed infants. Subjects were recruited from the Department of Obstetrics, Armed Forces Clinic and Army Hospital (Research and Referral), Delhi. A total of 541 apparently healthy women with uncomplicated, single, intra-uterine gestation reporting in any trimester were consecutively recruited. Of these 541 women, 299 (first trimester, ninety-seven; second trimester, 125; third trimester, seventy-seven) were recruited in summer (April–October) and 242 (first trimester, fifty-nine, second trimester, ninety-three; third trimester, ninety) were recruited in winter (November–March) to study seasonal variations in vitamin D status. Clinical, dietary, biochemical and hormonal evaluations for the Ca–vitamin D–parathormone axis were performed. A subset of 342 mother–infant pairs was re-evaluated 6 weeks postpartum. Mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) of pregnant women was 23·2 (sd 12·2) nmol/l. Hypovitaminosis D (25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l) was observed in 96·3 % of the subjects. Serum 25(OH)D levels were significantly lower in winter in the second and third trimesters, while serum intact parathormone (iPTH) and alkaline phosphatase levels were significantly higher in winter in all three trimesters. A significant negative correlation was found between serum 25(OH)D and iPTH in mothers (r − 0·367, P = 0·0001) and infants (r − 0·56, P = 0·0001). A strong positive correlation was observed between 25(OH)D levels of mother–infant pairs (r 0·779, P = 0·0001). A high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was observed in pregnancy, lactation and infancy with no significant inter-trimester differences in serum 25(OH)D levels.