Why Vitamin D is so important for your pregnancy
Vitamin D is important when you’re pregnant but why? And how best can you get it?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital when you’re pregnant, helping to nourish your fast-growing baby. And one nutrient you really need to get down is vitamin D. We all need Vitamin D but it is especially important in pregnancy as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop.
Here’s a quick guide to this powerful little bone-builder.
Boosting your baby’s bones
Vitamin D is vital in pregnancy, as it boosts bone health, which is crucial for you and your baby.
What do I need to take?
Taking vitamin D during your pregnancy ensures your baby starts life all stocked up with a good supply. In children, not having enough Vitamin D can cause their bones to soften, even leading to rickets - a disease that affects bone development in children. Experts have seen a fourfold increase in the past 15 years – so supplementation is crucial.
Your shot of sunshine
On average, we get a whopping 90 per cent of our Vitamin D from sunlight, so you need to briefly expose your skin between 11am and 3pm – when the sun is strongest. You only need a short time – it’s important not to burn.
Can I get it from food?
Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Some manufacturers add it to some breakfast cereals, soya products, some dairy products, powdered milk, and fat spreads such as margarine.
But it’s hard to know how much you’re getting, so the safest solution is popping a 10 microgram supplement every day. If you want to get your folic acid or Vitamin D from a multivitamin tablet, make sure that the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol) as this can harm your baby.
Some women may be advised to take a higher dose of vitamin D, NICE guidance suggests women with a high BMI, are immobile or women with covered or pigmented skin should be prescribed a higher dose.