Proper nutrition during pregnancy is vital, but did you know that low sun exposure during the wintertime can severely affect the embryo’s development and cause a higher risk in pregnancy by triggering gestational diabetes or preeclampsia? Vitamin D is crucial for the growth of your baby’s bones and even teeth!
Still, many women lack optimal vitamin D levels while pregnant, especially in the UK, where we have less sunshine, not to mention the colder months.
The dangers of low vitamin D levels during pregnancy
It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has a significant impact on calcium metabolism. Calcium demand increases in the third trimester of pregnancy. Because of these, vitamin D status has become an essential factor for maternal health, foetal skeletal growth, and healthy maternal outcomes.
However, the deficiency is widespread in pregnant women and even in breastfed infants. Prenatal vitamins contain inadequate levels of this vitamin.
Up to half of all pregnant women in the UK are affected by this deficiency, more common in the winter. Vitamin D insufficiency is shown when the blood serum level is less than 50 nm.
Research shows low vitamin D levels during pregnancy could cause adverse health outcomes such as preeclampsia, low birth weight, poor postnatal growth, bone fragility, and childhood allergy. In addition, mothers who have autoimmune diseases can link to low vitamin D levels during pregnancy.
Factors that cause vitamin D deficiency
Scientists made a list of the most critical factors that may put a pregnant woman at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Let’s see it!
- Obesity: body fat stores the vitamin D made in the skin, and it becomes less available to the body.
- Darker skin contains higher level of melanin, and this reduces the production of vitamin D,
- Medications—steroids, cholesterol-lowering drugs, diuretics,
- Disorders – celiac disease, Crohn’s disease,
- Limited sun exposure: during the winter season,
- Regular use of sunscreens,
- Living in northern latitudes
We encourage future mothers to consult their healthcare provider about their vitamin D level during pregnancy.
How much do pregnant women need?
Experts believe that the recommended amounts for pregnant women range from 600 to 2000 international units (UI) per day. However, many of them say that 600 IU isn’t enough, stating that higher amounts of 1000 to 2000 IUs daily provide optimal benefits. In addition, pregnant women require higher doses of some vitamins, including vitamin D. However, taking more than 4.000 IU of vitamin D per day may be harmful.
Most pregnancy multivitamins contain ten micrograms (400 international units), but this is not enough for women at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, women benefit from a higher dose of vitamin D supplements.
When to start taking during pregnancy?
Your body uses vitamin D every day, so you should get vitamin D supplementation while pregnant and breastfeeding, especially if your vitamin D level is low. If you have not taken it already, we kindly recommend you consider it. There is no evidence to show that supplementing with vitamin D will harm the baby or the mother. Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence to show that vitamin D deficiency in babies causes severe medical conditions.
Most healthcare providers recommend vitamin D supplementation from conception for another 3 to 6 months after your baby is born. So please do not stop taking vitamin D until you have discussed it with your doctor.
Advantages During Pregnancy
The Cochrane review update summarises the benefits of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy. They included 30 research studies and over 3700 pregnant women.
It showed that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy
- Reduce the risk of getting preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
- Reduces the risk of having a low-birthweight baby.
- Reduce the risk of severe bleeding after birth.
Vitamin D supplementation may achieve all these gains. Goodwill Pharma’s Vitamin D3 tablets are formulated to provide numerous health benefits, much needed during pregnancy.
Lots of studies show that vitamin D supplementation reduces the common risks associated with pregnancy. During the wintertime, there is less sunshine and this may cause reduced levels of vitamin D in pregnant women—the recommended dose of supplementation may be around 2000 IU. However, everybody is encouraged to consult their health care provider. Supplementation during pregnancy may start on the first day of conception and doesn’t stop even after the baby is born.Our team of writers aims to bring you the latest evidence in the field of health. Therefore, we encourage you to comment, save, and share our article with your friends! You can reach our blog via this link.