Pregnancy demands a lot of things from the mother’s body. It’s important that she gets extra vitamins and minerals. She can get them from a balanced diet or prenatal supplements.
Folic acid and iron are two important nutrients included in prenatal vitamins. Did you know that vitamin D is important in pregnancy as well?
The Role of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that works together with calcium and phosphorus. Without vitamin D, the body doesn’t absorb calcium and phosphorus as efficiently.
Recent studies have also shown that the role of vitamin D isn’t just limited to bone health. Vitamin D is now known to improve the immune system. It has also shown promise in preventing diabetes type 1, cardiovascular diseases, and even depression.
Why is it Important During Pregnancy?
Vitamin D is recommended during pregnancy because of its vital role in calcium absorption. It’s especially important during the second and third trimesters. The later months of pregnancy are when the baby’s bones develop, so it’s also when vitamin D is most needed.
Other studies have also shown that vitamin D helps prevent preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition where the pregnant woman’s blood pressure becomes alarmingly high. Preeclampsia can result to preterm or premature labors and other complications.
Is it Necessary to Take Vitamin D Supplements During Pregnancy?
Yes. Vitamin D absorption relies on many factors. These include skin color, the place where you live, and age, among others.
The body manufactures vitamin D from sun exposure. Lighter-skinned people can do this better than darker-skinned people. People in places nearer the equator will also have more vitamin D. Lastly, it gets more difficult to manufacture vitamin D the older you get.
Only a handful of foods contain vitamin D, as well. Because of this, the FDA required milk and cereals to include vitamin D in their products. However, more than half of Americans are lactose-intolerant. This means they can’t drink milk fortified with vitamin D.
Pregnant women also sometimes experience food aversions, cravings, and nausea and vomiting. Being picky with their food and morning sickness might stop them from eating well.
How Much Vitamin D is Essential During Pregnancy?
Most prenatal vitamins contain just 400 IU of vitamin D. This is enough for a non-pregnant person. However, results from recent studies show differently. Pregnant women will benefit more if she consumes 4,000 IU of vitamin D.
As morning sickness becomes a problem in some pregnancies many women do not like taking extra pills. A good option is to take vitamin D drops. The liquid form of vitamin D can be easier to take.