Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for good health. It’s a powerful immune-boosting nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health. It also helps regulate the body’s use of cholesterol, which can help prevent heart disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem, with most people not getting enough of it. The body makes vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight, but many people don’t get enough sun exposure or don’t get the right kind of sun exposure. It leads to a wide range of health-related issues.
Some studies have found that vitamin D deficiency results in a higher risk of pregnancy complications like birth defects. This is why many doctors recommend vitamin D supplements to pregnant women who are at risk of this nutrient deficiency.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to get enough vitamin D from food, supplements, or both. In addition to making sure that you’re getting enough sun exposure during the summer months, make sure to take prenatal vitamin supplements.
The amount of vitamin D you need during pregnancy depends on your age and how much sunlight you get each day. The recommended amount for pregnant women ranges from 600 to 2000 IU daily.
The following are some of the risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency:
Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may lead to complications such as:
Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low birth weight. The most important reason for this is the lack of vitamin D in the mother’s blood supply. This can cause problems with the placenta and fetus, which can lead to a number of complications in both mothers and babies, including miscarriage.
Preterm delivery is a medical condition when a baby is born before 37 weeks gestation (gestation). These babies are likely to be born small and underweight. In addition, they may also have breathing problems, require a lot of care during their early years, and have a higher risk of developing conditions such as heart disease or cancer later in life.
Vitamin D is essential for fetal development. Deficiency can cause low birth weight, which occurs when infants are born with a lower-than-normal weight for their gestational age or length of pregnancy. In some cases, low birth weight may be associated with multiple issues during pregnancy, including premature birth and infection.
Vitamin D helps with normal blood flow throughout the body, including the lungs. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased lung function in infants at birth or later on in life. This condition is known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). As BPD worsens over time, it can lead to chronic lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which often requires medical intervention.
The most serious complication of vitamin D deficiency is rickets, a softening of the bones that leads to bones that are too weak and misshapen to bear weight. This condition can lead to bowed legs, short stature, and curvature of the spine (scoliosis).
Whether you’re pregnant already or planning for it, consult your doctor about vitamin D deficiency. It’s important to bridge this deficiency, if any, with the right diet and supplement. Your doctor can help you with this, also extending other support to ensure a successful pregnancy outcome. So, talk to your obstetrician today.