Vitamin D & Pregnancy: We Look At How Important Vitamin D Is When You're Pregnant
We look at the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy, vitamin D in Pregnacare supplements, and at ground-breaking research on vitamin D in pregnancy that aims to find out more about the role of vitamin D and what it means for mothers and babies.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ is thought to be one of the most important vitamins for our bodies, to help to maintain normal bones, normal muscle function and a normal immune system plus it has a role in cell division. Vitamin D is also featuring in more and more interesting research, around a variety of health concerns.
Did you know that it’s estimated that up to a quarter of all people in the UK have low levels of vitamin D in their body, which means they are at risk of deficiency? Vitamin D deficiency is common in many people throughout the world, but particularly in pregnant women.
How Do I Get Enough Vitamin D, Especially During Pregnancy?
Vitamin D occurs naturally in a few foods. These include:
- Oily fish
However, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone. The best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on our skin, however, as well as the importance of keeping skin safe in the sun, it is hard to maintain this during the gloomy winter months.
The UK Department of Health recommends that everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, this includes pregnant women, breastfeeding mums, and children, particularly between the less sunny months of October and March.
Vitamin D In Pregnacare Supplements
Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding, are advised to take 10μg of vitamin D each day. Vitabiotics’ Pregnacare range has been specially formulated for pregnancy and helps to safeguard the daily intake of important nutrients, and each product in the During Pregnancy and After Pregnancy ranges provide 10μg of vitamin D.
- Vitabiotics Pregnacare® Original, Pregnacare Liquid, Pregnacare Plus, Pregnacare Maxand Pregnacare Gummies which all contain the recommended 10μg of vitamin D.
- And if you’re breastfeeding, Vitabiotics Pregnacare® Breast-feeding contains the recommended 10μg of vitamin D, as does Pregnacare New Mum.
Find out more about our Pregnacare pregnancy supplements range.
When to Start Taking Vitamin D During Pregnancy?
In terms of when to start taking vitamin D during pregnancy, the UK Department of Health recommends that everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, particularly between the less sunny months of October and March.
If you are not already taking vitamin D when you find out you are pregnant, start as soon as you are able to.
What Role Does Vitamin D Play In Pregnancy?
Doctors recently researched for the first time, the role of vitamin D during pregnancy and what this means for the mother and baby. The research was supported by Wellbeing of Women, the medical research charity for women and children.
A recent study by Dr Jennifer Tamblyn, at the University of Birmingham, has discovered that as well as helping to support healthy bones of the mother and developing baby, vitamin D plays an important role in keeping the placenta healthy, which is crucial since it supplies the baby with vital nutrients.
The study has shown that immune cells in the placenta respond to the vitamin D and where there is a deficiency, the placenta doesn't function properly.
When the placenta isn't working effectively women can experience complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, and premature birth, leading to the suggestion that a simple vitamin D supplement could be as important as taking folic acid for the health of the baby.
Professor Martin Hewison who oversaw the vitamin D work said: " This is unique research. For the first, we are focusing on how important Vitamin D is for the health of the mother and baby by establishing the important role it plays in controlling the function of the placenta. We knew that taking Vitamin D in later pregnancy was important for the development of the foetal skeleton, but we now believe taking vitamin D supplements very early in pregnancy, or possibly even before conception, could help protect against pre-eclampsia and possibly other pregnancy complications, such as growth restriction and even miscarriage."
To help support this important research into the role of vitamin D during pregnancy, Pregnacare partnered with Wellbeing of Women in their mission, by funding medical research to find better cures and treatments, aiming to help save and improve the lives of women and babies. With this vital support Wellbeing of Women can also invest in further research projects that will enable more women to have healthy pregnancies, fight gynaecological cancers and enjoy a better quality of life.
Calcium In Pregnancy
Bone health is important for us all, and in addition to vitamin D, getting enough calcium is important to help maintain healthy bones and teeth during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, as the growing baby and breastfed baby places demand on the mothers’ calcium supplies.
Sources of calcium in food include milk, cheese and other dairy products, green leafy vegetables such as curly kale, bread and anything made with fortified flour, among others.
In the Pregnacare range, Pregnacare Max supplements for during pregnancy includes 500mg calcium to help maintain normal bones and teeth. For post natal support Pregnacare Breast-feeding provides 700mg calcium and Pregnacare New Mum includes 400mg calcium.
Osteocare supplements are a specially formulated source of calcium with co-factors to help maintain normal bones. You might be wondering if you can take Osteocare in pregnancy, and if Osteocare is safe during pregnancy. Osteocare is safe to take during pregnancy, if you are advised to take it or feel that you may need to safeguard your calcium intake . Osteocare is available in a variety of formats, try Original tablets, Liquid, Fizz or Chewable. You can also take Osteocare alongside Pregnacare supplements, though it’s not required in addition to Pregnacare Max, Pregnacare Breast-feeding or Pregnacare New Mum all of which include extra calcium.
For more information on calcium and breastfeeding, read our Pregnacare A-Z of Pregnancy and Nutrition.