Vitamin D is a building block in repair and maintenance of the body. Because of its role in building the body of a developing fetus, it is particularly important for every pregnant woman to eat vitamin D-rich foods and even to take a supplement. As research accumulates, it becomes clear that adequate vitamin D during pregnancy has far reaching health effects throughout our lives.
Research has found pregnant women who get sufficient vitamin D are less likely to have pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and general infections. For babies, a vitamin D deficiency can cause more serious problems because it can interrupt normal development. Children born with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to experience wheezing, dental caries, rickets, and even multiple sclerosis (MS). One study showed that children whose mothers had higher levels of vitamin D during pregnancy had higher bone density at 10 years old.
Sources of Vitamin D
There are few foods rich in vitamin D, but we can find it naturally in mushrooms, whole eggs, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Some foods are frequently vitamin-D fortified, such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereal. We also synthesize vitamin D through our skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays.
It’s important to maintain optimal vitamin D levels during pregnancy. If you suspect that you might have been deficient when you became pregnant, you can have your levels tested to determine the proper amount for your supplement.
Though the importance of vitamin D is clear, there are still questions to be answered such as “How much?” and “When?” A 2009 study found that “even with supplementation, only a small percentage of women and babies were vitamin D sufficient. Further research is required to determine the optimal timing and dosing of vitamin D in pregnancy.”
For now, if you are pregnant, be sure that you eat foods rich in vitamin D and consider a supplement for your health and for the future health of your child. The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends people concerned about vitamin D levels take 1,000 units of vitamin D supplements a day. We carry D Drops and Baby D Drops, a lanolin-derived supplement without additives or chemicals. Read more about vitamin D and its importance in the “Details” section of D Drops.