Advice for Pregnant Mothers:
Vitamin D is vital for healthy pregnancy and a baby’s healthy development. Adequate levels of maternal circulating vitamin D are required for good bone health and the development of the infant’s immune system:
- All women should take 400IU of vitamin D throughout their pregnancy, as recommended by the Department of Health
In our opinion, the Department of Health supplement is not enough. We recommend that pregnant women should take at least that the above amount. Research from the US recommends between 4000-6000IU during pregnancy.
- Get tested. Darker skinned women are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency whilst pregnant and should speak to their GP about testing their vitamin D levels – this is the basic standard of care in maternity units.
A test will show whether you are deficient in vitamin D (i.e. have a circulating level less than 25 nmol/L). Many GPs are unaware of the importance of vitamin D and some may be unable to perform the test. In that case, order a test and take the result to your GP who will then treat you if you have vitamin D deficiency.
- Start early. Current scientific research indicates that a healthy vitamin D level in the mother is critical at conception, so getting a vitamin D test done preconception and then starting to take a supplement of 400IUdaily is advisable. Vitamin D is critical in the regulation of the mother’s immune system. A poor vitamin D level probably makes it more difficult to conceive and raises the risk of immune related problems during pregnancy and autoimmune diseases in the offspring. The right time to get circulating vitamin D levels tested is pre conception.