Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy are fairly consistently associated with troubling outcomes
Vitamin D is a vitamin which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. From the five forms of vitamin D discovered, the D2 and D3 are the most important for the human body.
To ensure you enough vitamin D, you should expose yourself to sunlight, because your body produces this substance under the sun influence. Other alternative sources of vitamin D are: oily fish (salmon and sardines), eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and spreads.
The main functions of vitamin D in the human body are:
- Maintaining normal calcium and phosphorus levels;
- Assisting in some cell functions and in some neuromuscular functions;
- Combating depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, phagocytosis activity and boosts anti-tumor activity;
- Maintaining a healthy immune system and is important for body’s overall growth and development.
A recent meta-analysis of 31 studies on vitamin D during pregnancy, conducted by Dr. Doreen Rabi, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, Canada, analyzed all the existing evidence on the impact of vitamin D levels on pregnancy and birth outcomes. The study has shown that Vitamin D deficiency may be associated to some pregnancy complications including:
- A 49 % increased risk of the woman developing gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar levels that can lead to excessive levels of sugar reaching the baby;
- A 79 % increased chance of pre-eclampsia, or high blood pressure.
- A 187 % increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal infection that can trigger preterm labour.
- An 85 % increased chance of the baby being born smaller than the normal weight.
Vitamin D levels during pregnancy were not found to be associated with any impact on a baby’s length at birth or head circumference.
One of the goals of the Calgary research was to determine the appropriate level of Vitamin D.
Dr. Rabi pointed out that the latest research shows only an association between low levels of vitamin D and pregnancy complications, and it does not prove that low vitamin D levels necessarily leads to problems.
Until experts will determine the perfect amount of this vitamin while pregnant, Dr. Rabi advices women to get the amount of vitamin D which is currently recommended for general health: 600 IU of Vitamin D.
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