Importance of Vitamin D during Pregnancy

A new study was recently published in the online Journal Pediatrics which shows that “Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy could possibly hinder babies’ brain development, impeding their mental and motor skills”.

The study was based in Spain where researchers tested 2,000 women during their pregnancy and then later tested their babies after the women had already given birth.  First, the researchers measured the level of Vitamin D in the pregnant women’s blood while they were pregnant, during their first or second trimester.  Later, once the participants’ babies were born and over one year old, the researchers evaluated the babies’ mental and motor abilities.

As it turns out, the children of the mothers who tested as being vitamin D deficient scored lower than the children of the mothers who tested as having normal levels of vitamin D.

The author of the study, Dr. Eva Morales claims that the differences in the mental and psychomotor development scores could be the reason for different IQ levels among children.  The children of mothers who were vitamin D deficient during pregnancy could ultimately have lower IQ’s than other children.

However, experts still cannot seem to agree on how much vitamin D pregnant women should receive.  The Institute of Medicine advises that pregnant women should receive 600 international units (IU) a day of the sunshine vitamin, but the Endocrine Society advises that pregnant women to receive 2,000 units a day.

Another source recommends that pregnant women receive 4,000 units of vitamin D a day; which can be done by spending just 15 minutes in the sun a day during the summer months.

That does not mean women who spend longer than that in the sun should worry at all.  It is said that women can receive up to 50,000 units a day before worrying about having too much vitamin D, which equates to spending over 3 hours in the sun.

Here are some ways to increase your levels of the sunshine vitamin D, whether you are pregnant or not.