The Importance of Vitamin D in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, there is a lot of talk about nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and so on. The information can be overwhelming, we understand. In this blog, we look at vitamin D, as well as what you need to know about vitamin D and pregnancy.
*Please note that this blog is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment; Sweet Child O’ Mine is sharing general information about vitamin D and pregnancy. As always, please consult with your medical provider with any questions you may have regarding this information and/or your medical condition.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found naturally in a few foods, may be added to other foods, ingested as a supplement, and can also be obtained through sun exposure, which undergoes a different process.
The best natural, food-based source of vitamin D is fatty fish (such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks have small amounts of vitamin D. Almost all of the U.S. cow milk supply is fortified with Vitamin D, as are the majority of plant-based milks, such as soy, almond, and oat milk. Because Vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with a meal or snack that contains fat.
Per the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) consumer fact sheet: “[Vitamin D] helps your body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks for strong bones. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect you from developing osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break. Your body needs vitamin D for other functions too. Your muscles need it to move, and your nerves need it to carry messages between your brain and your body. Your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Please also note that high levels of vitamin D can be harmful, so it is important to monitor your vitamin D levels with your medical professional. Find more about the impact of too much vitamin D here.
What Do I Need to Know About Vitamin D and Pregnancy?
Maternal vitamin D deficiency is associated (to varying degrees) with preeclampsia, low birth weight, preterm labor, infections during pregnancy, neonatal hypocalcemia, poor postnatal growth, bone fragility, and increased incidence of autoimmune diseases. In other words, maternal vitamin D status can influence maternal, fetal, and breast-fed infant health. This 2009 study digs into severe vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.
ACOG (The American Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) published a study that was reaffirmed in 2017, which states: “When vitamin D deficiency is identified during pregnancy, most experts agree that 1,000–2,000 international units per day of vitamin D is safe… Recommendations concerning routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy beyond that contained in a prenatal vitamin should await the completion of ongoing randomized clinical trials.” Recommended dosage for Vitamin D is typically 4000 IU for pregnancy and 6000 IU for postpartum. At Sweet Child O’ Mine, we usually just recommend 5000 IU per day. We sell the NOW brand Vitamin D3 5,000 IU small softgels, 120 count. This is a four month supply for $11.00.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You
Your team of midwives is here to support you in caring for yourself and your baby. We care about your health and wellness in a holistic way. During prenatal and postpartum visits we will talk about nutrition and supplements, and, of course, if you have additional questions, we are here for you!
If you are currently building your birth team, we would be honored to be a part of your team; reach out and let us know how we can support you!