Are you planning to chart up a healthy diet plan while you are pregnant? Or are you planning to conceive and want to know all about those essential foods and supplements that are so important during your pregnancy months?
While you are still on the list, have you given some thought to the much important vitamin that has a significant role to play in keeping your pregnancy healthy? Yes, we are talking about Vitamin D, and if you do not have much information on it yet, read our post here and educate yourself now.
Why Do You Need Vitamin D When You Are Pregnant?
Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most important vitamins that you need during your pregnancy. Diets that are high in vitamin D will help keep your pregnancy healthy, as well as add more health benefits for you and your unborn baby. Here is a quick look at how vitamin D helps you when you are pregnant:
• Taking a dose that is rich in vitamin D will help you reduce chances of various complications related to pregnancy. Some such health risks involve gestational diabetes, preterm birth, pregnancy-related infections, compulsory cesarean birth and any other complications that may arise at the time of birth.
• When you consume vitamin D in adequate quantities, especially while you are pregnant, it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphorus in your body. Both calcium and phosphorus will help develop your unborn baby’s teeth and bones. It will also keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong.
• Having a deficiency in vitamin D while you are pregnant can lead to skeletal deformities in your unborn baby. It can also cause various developmental problems like retardation in the fetus.
• If you lack the required amount of vitamin D in your body while you are pregnant, it will mean that your baby will also be born with a vitamin D deficiency. It will immediately put your baby at a high risk of rickets that can cause various deformities and fractures through her life.
• Not having enough vitamin D at the time of birth can also cause your baby to have an abnormal bone growth and lead to various delays in physical development. In severe cases, it can also lead to life-long bone development issues as well as low immunity (1).
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need While You Are Pregnant?
According to various studies, medical researchers estimate that while you are pregnant, you should have at least 4,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day. It is almost ten times the amount of vitamin D recommended on a daily basis. However, the study found that pregnant women who take the said amount of vitamin D on a daily basis did not develop any side effects. In fact, they were at an almost 50 percent lesser chance of having any vitamin D deficiency related pregnancy or birth complications.
How much vitamin D you need on a daily basis while you are pregnant is a matter of individual health and situation. Your doctor will know all about your medical history as well as the health of your pregnancy. It is important that before taking the below-mentioned numbers, you have a word with your doctor and only then proceed.
Here is a quick look at how much vitamin D you would require while you are pregnant:
- According to the National Academy of Sciences, you should have at least 200 IUs or 5 micrograms of vitamin D on a daily basis.
- Your body makes its vitamin D when you step out in the sun. Regulate your vitamin D intake. If you live in a tropical climate, you might not need vitamin D supplements. Conversely, if you stay at a place with no sunshine, you might need to have supplements every day.
- According to some experts, if the amount is not enough, and depending on the health of your pregnancy and certain other factors, you may need more (2).
Sources Of Vitamin D:
As with anything you eat, drink or do when you are pregnant, before you proceed to have any of the following foods, make sure you take your doctor’s approval for the same. Here is a list of foods that will help you get the required amount of vitamin D that you need:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, catfish, sardines and mackerel.
- Egg yolks.
- Foods that are fortified with vitamin D. Some examples include fortified fresh fruit juices, fortified milk, fortified skim milk and fortified soy milk, fortified dairy products and even fortified cereals.
- Fortified Margarine.
Do You Need To Consume Vitamin D Supplements While You Are Pregnant?
Your doctor will be the right person to tell you whether you should take any additional vitamin D supplements during pregnancy. If your doctor feels it is necessary, she may ask you to consume a daily supplement that contains 10 mcg of vitamin D. Your doctor might ask you to consume vitamin D supplements throughout pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding as well.
There are certain situations when you may be prone to have a deficiency of vitamin D. Here are a few instances where you may need an additional supplement to make up for the lack of it:
- If you are of South Asian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean or African descent.
- If you do not get too much exposure to sunlight and are mostly at home. You may also be deficient in vitamin D if you always cover yourself up while stepping out or use a lot of sunblock cream.
- You may be lacking in vitamin D if you do not regularly eat foods that are a good source of the sunlight vitamin. Some foods that you should regularly include in your diet are meat, oily fish and eggs, and the foods mentioned above.
- If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
How much vitamin D you need during pregnancy will depend on various factors, so make sure you speak to your doctor about it.
How did you fulfill your body’s requirement of vitamin D while you were pregnant? Share your tips here.
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