Vitamin D in your pregnancy diet

Vitamin D is one of the pregnancy vitamins that every woman should consider adding to her regime. Health researchers have found that this vitamin benefits both mother and baby.


Why you need vitamin D during pregnancy

Your body needs vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium andphosphorus, which help build your baby’s bones and teeth.

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy. Inadequate vitamin D can lead to abnormal bone growth, fractures, or rickets in newborns.

Some studies link vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight, but more research is needed to confirm these links.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be subtle. They may include achy muscles, weakness, bone pain, and softened bones, which may lead to fractures.

You can also have a vitamin D deficiency without any symptoms. And if that happens while you’re pregnant, your baby can suffer a deficiency, too.

How much vitamin D you need

Vitamin D dosage is a topic of debate. The Institute of Medicine currently recommends that all women – whether or not they’re pregnant or breastfeeding – get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D or 15 micrograms (mcg) each day.

But many experts believe that 600 IU isn’t nearly enough. The Linus Pauling Institute, for example, recommends all adults take 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D each day. The Endocrine Society says 600 IU may be enough, but some people – including pregnant and breastfeeding women – may need 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D.

In 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated that more safety research is needed before the organization would recommend more vitamin D than what’s in a standard prenatal vitamin. Ask your healthcare provider for advice about how much vitamin D you need during pregnancy.

Food sources of vitamin D

Fish liver oil, fatty fish, and eggs all contain vitamin D. But not many other foods contain vitamin D naturally, so a lot are fortified with this important vitamin. Be sure to check labels: Some cheeses, yogurts, and cereals are fortified while others aren’t. (All milk is vitamin D fortified.)

Here are some of the best food sources of vitamin D:

  • 3 ounces canned pink salmon: 465 IU (11.6 mcg)


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