If you are pregnant, you likely know that this is a crucial time for your baby’s growth. It is also your best chance to provide all the nutrients your baby needs for its physical and mental growth.
No single nutrient will do the ‘magic’ for you. You will have to reach for a wide variety of healthy foods. A nourishing diet is a great way to receive a broad spectrum of nutrients for you and your baby.
Yet, there is one nutrient that you cannot get just by eating foods unless you supplement. It is Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin. It’s called this because your body makes vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin.
Do you get enough exposure to the sun?
If your answer is “maybe,” “a little,” “not sure”, then your body may be deficient in vitamin D. Extensive epidemiological studies show that vitamin D deficiency is high among women, this also includes pregnant as well as lactating mothers1. Pregnancy can also lead to severe vitamin D deficiency due to increased demand from your growing child.
Why Should I Take Vitamin D During Pregnancy?
Vitamin D helps your body grow bones, absorb calcium, boost immunity, balance your hormones, and more. But while you are pregnant, it is more important than ever to increase your vitamin D intake:
Prevents Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Unchecked gestational diabetes leads to pregnancy complications and in some cases can be fatal for both the mother and her baby. Several studies link vitamin D deficiency to gestational diabetes. Studies suggest that improving vitamin D levels via supplements can help lower the risk of gestational diabetes2. It also shows that vitamin D helps normalize blood sugar levels in diabetic pregnant women.
Lowers Risk of Birth Defects: Studies found that mother’s with low vitamin D levels give birth to babies with low birth weight. In addition to this researchers also find that mother’s with low vitamin D levels give birth to babies with poor bone calcium, delayed closure of cranial vertex, enlarged skull, and tetany3.
Prevents Postpartum Depression: Several studies link vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women lead to postpartum depression after childbirth4. Data from several studies suggest that optimal vitamin D levels during pregnancy prevent depression both during and after pregnancy.
Low vitamin D levels can also lead to conditions like pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preterm delivery, pregnancy loss, and C-section delivery1.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D Daily
Most prenatal vitamins contain vitamin D, but this is only a fraction of what you need if you are mostly indoors and wear sunscreen. Make sure to eat vitamin D fortified foods, get sensible sun exposure, and talk to your OB-GYN about starting a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D supplements are a safe and effective way to increase maternal vitamin D reserves in your body.
The NATURELO Prenatal Multivitamin includes 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 from organic Lichen and is 100% plant-based. If you live in an area where you don’t have enough sunshine, you may also add a separate supplement with 2500 IU of Vitamin D3. Taking 3500 IU of D3 on a daily basis would help you reap the benefits outlined above.
1. Vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy, 2014 Sep-Oct; 18(5): 593–596
2. Gestational diabetes: A clinical update, 2015 Jul 25
3. Does vitamin D during pregnancy impact offspring growth and bone?, 2012 Feb;71(1):38-45. doi: 10.1017/S0029665111003053. Epub 2011 Aug 24
4. Vitamin D Deficiency and Antenatal and Postpartum Depression: A Systematic Review, 2018 Apr 12;10(4). pii: E478. doi: 10.3390/nu10040478