Vitamin D Important During Pregnancy

New research finds that mothers with low levels of Vitamin D are at a higher risk of pregnancy complications


 

A new analysis of past research done by several professors at the University of Calgary suggests that mothers with low levels of Vitamin D are at a higher risk of several pregnancy problems. This analysis found that women who did not have enough Vitamin D in their system were more likely to have:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Bacterial vaginosis

 

 

Their babies were more likely to be:

  • Small for gestational age
  • Low birth weight

 

The research wasn’t able to show whether or not the low Vitamin D caused these problems. It is possible that in some cases it is a marker for other things: for example, women who are overweight and do not get much exercise are known to be at greater risk for gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. They may also have low levels of Vitamin D because they are not outside very often. Women who exercise frequently outdoors will have higher levels of Vitamin D as well as lower risks of the health problems mentioned. Further research is needed to uncover the precise role that Vitamin D plays in these situations.

The researchers do suggest that mothers should be strongly encouraged to take the recommended Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy. There is still some controversy about the amount that should be taken but women can discuss their Vitamin D status with their doctors or midwives to decide what level of supplementation would be most helpful for them.

Women most at risk of having low levels of Vitamin D are those who live in northern latitudes or cold climates, those who don’t consume foods fortified with Vitamin D (such as cow’s milk), those who are covered with clothing when outdoors (e.g. for religious reasons), those who use sun screen and those with darker skin.  

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