Fitness & Health

Pregnancy and the Importance of Vitamin D

Pregnancy and Vitamin D
Guest Blog Post by Natalie Michele

Becoming pregnant is not only a blessing, but also a truly unique experience for women. For that experience to go as smooth as possible, you will need to get a healthy start and maintain it throughout your pregnancy. The main way of doing that is by getting the essential vitamins and nutrients that your body requires to ensure that no complications occur during any of the three trimesters.

You may be aware that Vitamin D exists but you are not entirely sure about what it can do for pregnant women. Vitamin D is a part of a group of fat soluble hormones. When women are pregnant, they are required to take more Vitamin D than usual.

Why You Need More Vitamin D
At this point in time, you may be wondering why there is a need for you take more Vitamin D than usual. Vitamin D is crucial in making sure that your levels of calcium and phosphorus are okay. This will ensure that your baby’s bones and teeth will grow properly. Without Vitamin D, there is a bigger chance that a baby will have skeletal deformities and other conditions that are related to the skeletal system. At the same time, lack of Vitamin D may also be a cause of retardation.

Other conditions that may be caused by lack of Vitamin D are the following conditions:

  • Rickets is one of the conditions that babies may develop when they lack Vitamin D when they are born. This is a sort of condition that makes people more susceptible deformity of the bones and other fractures.
  • Abnormal bone growth is another condition that may develop because of the lack of Vitamin D.
  • Weaker immune system may be another repercussion of not having enough Vitamin D in the system.

Based on the things that are mentioned above, it is quite apparent that the lack of Vitamin D can cause problems for babies but is it only babies that are affected by this? It seems that you may also become affected if you do not take in enough Vitamin D. A recent report by the U.S National Library of Medicine found that you actually have a higher chance of requiring a C-section if you have a Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy. Furthermore, there are also some birth complications that women with this deficiency encounter, such as a preterm birth.

How Much Vitamin D Is Needed?
Now that you are aware of the importance of Vitamin D, how much do you actually need when you are pregnant? Well, there is no exact number and any number you read is arbitrary, however most medical journals recommend around 2000 IU’s a day. For women who are breastfeeding, they may need to take a higher dosage. Regardless, you should always ask your physician first and have them recommend you a dosage that is conducive to your direct situation. It can and does vary from woman to woman.

Most importantly, you should definitely be careful about taking too high of a dose of Vitamin D. A recent study done by Dr. Gitte Bloch Rasmussen, from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, found results that led him to caution people in the use of high dose Vitamin-D supplementation. Once again, all of this information points to the fact that you should let no one else but your physician to recommend a specific dosage that will work for you and your baby.

Where You Can Get Vitamin D
Since you are now aware of the effects of Vitamin D for you and your baby and you are now aware of the proper amounts of Vitamin D that you would actually need every single day while you are pregnant, from where can you get the Vitamin D?

The most obvious source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Everyone is actually recommended to have sun exposure in the morning when the sun’s rays will be giving the most Vitamin D. At the same time, there are certain food products that can be great sources of Vitasmin D. Provided that you are not allergic to these food products, it is important that you will include these food in your diet:

  • Some Types of Fish – If in case you are into eating fish, you may want to include a bit of catfish, salmon, mackerel, tuna fish and sardines to your diet.
  • Milk – This can be important for you as long as you are not lactose intolerant. 1 cup of milk will be able to provide 100 IU.
  • Egg Yolk – There may be some people who try to avoid eating egg yolks because they do not like the taste but the egg yolk can be a good source of Vitamin D. It can provide 20 IU for every egg yolk that will be consumed.

Your doctor will be able to provide all the information that you need regarding the amount of Vitamin D that your body requires. Make sure that you follow their recommendations because every person is unique and requires different doses based on several factors.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19106272 – U.S National Library of Medicine
  2. http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20150108/low-vitamin-d-levels-linked-to-risk-of-preterm-birth-in-study – WebMD.
  3. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852915 – Medscape.

Natalie Michele is passionate in providing general pregnancy and maternity guides and information to all mothers or mothers to be. Visit her website (MaternityatHome.com) and follow her on Pinterest and Twitter.

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