Vitamin D in Pregnancy

vitamin d pregnancy

The importance of Vitamin D in pregnancy

According to recent studies as reported by websites like livestrong.com and health.com, pregnant women probably should be taking in at least ten times more vitamin D than experts are currently recommending per daily dose. As you will read below, vitamin D is found only in a small amount of natural sources, so the big question becomes how much supplement is needed to maintain good health for the pregnant woman and her baby.

Positive effects of vitamin D

Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin. It is also called “the sunshine vitamin” because it is absorbed through the rays of the sun. Some natural sources of Vitamin D can be found in a small group of foods such as fish, oysters, things containing fish oils, etc. It is often added to milk products, breakfast cereals and other foods we eat daily. Vitamin D’s greatest benefit to our bodies is its ability to help calcium and phosphorus to be absorbed through our digestive tract. We need these nutrients for bone health, healthy cell division, nerve conduction and immune system function, and even while taking in adequate amounts of these; our bodies wouldn’t be able to properly utilize them without adequate natural sources of vitamin D, or supplements.

Weight loss and vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D can be found in overweight people. Some studies have shown that the hypothalmus (the part of the brain that regulates hormonal functions) may sense low vitamin D levels and respond to it by releasing hormones that stimulate hunger which may cause us to eat more. Vitamin D may also prevent the growth of fat cells in the body according to Shape.com.

Prenatal vitamins and vitamin D

Mothers who are expecting need to make sure they get enough Vitamin D not only for their own health, but also for the health of their babies. Taking prenatal vitamins can help, but will probably not give a pregnant mother the Vitamin D she and her baby need. The average prenatal vitamin contains about 400IU of vitamin D. In the recent studies done, 500 women at least 12 weeks pregnant were given 400, 2,000 or 4,000 IU or Vitamin D per day. The study showed that the women taking the 4000 IU were at less risk of pre-term births/labor and infections, without a single adverse effect reported. Previous research has also shown that pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to develop high blood pressure (preeclampsia) which may be life-threatening, and could be more likely to require a c-section. Doctor’s have historically been taught that too much Vitamin D can be toxic, however, they are finding that vitamin D intoxication is extremely rare and easy to treat, making it less threatening than a lack of vitamin D.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Although studies are effectively proving that pregnant women in their second and third trimesters should be taking much more than the currently recommended amounts of vitamin D, they have not adequately looked at women in their first trimesters when the organs are forming and the fetus is most vulnerable to birth defects. Always remember to consult your physician before changing your intake of any supplement while pregnant.

 

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