Vitamin D deficiency is a common occurrence among pregnant women especially during the winter. Although the research is not yet definitive vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women has been linked to an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, preterm birth, and other tissue specific conditions.
So does that mean a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy is necessary? Well the jury is still out on whether or not all pregnant women should be supplementing their intake however, there has been evidence to support the view that those pregnant during the winter probably should.
According to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal vitamin D supplementation may counteract the drop of normal levels of the vitamin caused by lack of sunlight when late pregnancy occurs in the winter months.
Knowing why winter moms are at risk for lower levels of this vitamin is all well and good but how does maternal vitamin D deficiency affect my unborn baby you ask? Let us explain the two greatest concerns for your baby.
According to a study by Alison Gernand, from Pitt Public Health’s department of Epidemiology, women who had low levels of the sunshine vitamin during 26 weeks of pregnancy delivered babies who weighed 46 grams less than their peers. Babies born with a lower birth weight are at higher risk of death in their first month, they are also at risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes later in life.
Impaired skeletal development and growth
A number of studies have shown that severe deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with impaired growth and bone development in babies. There is also a substantial amount of evidence that suggests that breastfeeding mothers who are deficient in vitamin D put their babies at risk for rickets, a skeletal disorder that can result in soft bones, stunted growth and in severe cases skeletal deformities.
If you are a pregnant women or new mom who falls into one of the high risk categories for a vitamin D deficiency mentioned our post Factors that Put You at Risk for Low Vitamin D, then you should consult with your physician and consider boosting your vitamin D intake with a supplement.
PROTECTING YOU FAMILY STARTS WITH YOU, EMPOWER THEM WITH NATIONS NUTRITION TODAY.