Why Vitamin D is Vital for Pregnant Women

Nutrition in Pregnancy
Proper nutrition is paramount during pregnancy. It helps prevent complications in pregnancy like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and anemia. It minimizes fatigue, constipation and morning sickness, which are common among pregnant women. Most importantly, having a healthy diet reduces risk of birth defects as well as a number of chronic illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. These are valuable reasons why a mother-to-be should invest time and energy in planning for a nutritional diet.

Benefits of Vitamin D
And one of the important nutrients that any pregnant woman should have is vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin. The benefits include:

– helps in the management of calcium and phosphate
– can prevent prenatal deficiencies in newborns, including rickets and preeclampsia
– prevents other musculoskeletal complications
– (postnatal) also, having vitamin D in your diet also ensures that your toddler won’t suffer from low bone density since this vitamin helps in absorption of calcium needed by the body for bone strengthening. According to the Food Standards Agency, pregnant women as well as breastfeeding mothers should take in 10 mcg of vitamin D every day.

Sources of Vitamin D
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, as it synthesized by the body after exposure to sunshine, vitamin D can be obtained in sufficient amount with 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine thrice a week.

This vitamin, which comes in two forms namely the vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), can also be acquired from food sources like:

– butter
– cheese
– vitamin D fortified milk and juice
– bread
– yogurt
– cream
– fatty fish
– oysters
– fortified cereals
– eggs
– mushroom
– margarine

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010, women who had serious forms of preeclampsia or pregnancy-related high blood pressure were found to have low levels of vitamin D in the blood. Apart from the blood pressure spike, this condition was also linked with protein in the urine that was a result of pressure on the kidneys. This condition increased risk of preterm births.

To prevent vitamin D deficiency, a pregnant woman should include the food sources mentioned above in her daily diet. It would be a smart idea to get help from a nutritionist to ensure that she would be taking in sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Another way to do this is to get adequate amount from dietary supplements. But make sure that you consult your doctor first before you take in any supplement.

Vitamin D, along with other vitamins and minerals, is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. A healthy mother means healthy baby. Even though you haven’t seen your child yet, you know that you want nothing but the best for him/her.

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