Why is Having Sufficient Vitamin D Levels Important to a Pregnant Woman?

Why is Having Sufficient Vitamin D Levels Important to a Pregnant Woman?

The Potential Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency

According to Australian health expert Andrew Whitehouse from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the University of Western Australia, pregnant women who do not have enough vitamin D levels may be putting their babies at risk for language problems in the future.

These health experts suggest the intake of vitamin D for pregnant mothers to prevent this problem. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the optimum growth of the baby in the womb. However, more studies to confirm this view are necessary.

It has been observed that pregnant women are steadily decreasing their vitamin D levels in the last 20 years. The main reason is the lack of exposure to sunlight.
It is not yet fully known what the lack of vitamin D levels in pregnant moms can do to the growing baby. But in a recent study, the vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to developmental language difficulties in some children.

Effect on the Language Development of Children

The study involved 700 pregnant moms whose vitamin D levels were measured. Then, the behavior of their children with ages from 2 years old to 17 years old were also monitored.

At 5 years old and 10 years old, the children’s language development was also re-assessed by the researchers.

After analyzing the data, the researchers state that the maternal vitamin D levels had no significant effect on the children’s behavior or emotional state.

However, the team found significant effects on the language development of children whose moms had insufficient vitamin D levels during pregnancy. Some children whose moms had the least levels of vitamin D even had language development difficulty twofold.

Whitehouse mentioned that there must be a correlation between the mother’s vitamin D levels at the time of pregnancy and the baby’s neurodevelopment. However, what the research team discovered is not a cause-and-effect relationship, but only an association.

With this study, there’s reason to believe that pregnant women truly need vitamin D supplementation. It’s not yet conclusive, but if the mom’s vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy really affects the language difficulties of the child, then it’s a must.

Increases Pregnant Mother’s Risk for Preeclampsia and Caesarean Delivery

Many obstetricians/gynecologists also believe that pregnant women need vitamin D. If possible, vitamin D levels should be checked in pregnant women to correct any deficiency.

It’s good that most moms are taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. So, they are able to get about 1,200 IU of vitamin D from the vitamin supplement.

Vitamin D deficiency in women must be addressed, which may require supplementation of about 10,000 IU per day.

For women who would like to conceive a baby, it is advisable to take prenatal vitamins. It can benefit you especially when you’re on your way to becoming pregnant.

Dr. Micahel F. Holick from the Boston University School of Medicine also points out that pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D have an increased risk for preeclampsia and child delivery via c-section. With preeclampsia, the pregnant mother suffers from high blood pressure and the condition of having protein in the urine.

It is not surprising that these issues will have an effect on the fetus’s development, which in the first place was due to vitamin D deficiency of the mother.

The Endocrine Society recommends a vitamin D intake of 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day for pregnant women. It would be wise to increase a pregnant woman’s vitamin D intake to prevent her from having unwanted health conditions and her baby from having language development difficulty.

Photo credits: Vitamin D by Health Gauge via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Categories: Health, Nutrition

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