Pregnancy and Nutrition

By Eric LeClair, Recent Arizona State University Student 

We have all heard the infamous line our parents told us when were kids: “drink that milk so you can grow strong bones”. We just didn’t know how true that statement was. Of course, milk isn’t the sole reason for strong bone growth, but it does help you achieve the proper amounts of vitamin D which contribute to bone growth.

Who is at risk the most for vitamin D deficiency, though? I took this question and started researching the topic and found some interesting information. I am never satisfied with what I read online so I took this question to the source. In this article, I will be covering why it’s important for women who are pregnant to get enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important for proper bone growth because it helps the body use calcium. Rickets and other more general health problems may occur when someone is vitamin D deficient, according to Vitamin D Council. According to americanpregnancy.org, the most important compounds for human Development are D2 and D3. Milk, fish and fish oils are all great sources of Vitamin D. A major Vitamin D supply in your life is sunlight.

Many women think their regular prenatal vitamins will suffice for their daily dose of Vitamin D. Most of the time, however, that will not be enough. A recent study showed that the average pregnant woman must take in at least 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily to be at a safe level for both the mother and her child. The biggest benefits of taking this amount of Vitamin D are immune function, bone health, and cell division. There is such a short list of Vitamin D foods that almost half of the people in the U.S. are deficient. (Wagner, 2011)

Real Moms, Real Advice

When talking with Susan, a 7-month pregnant soon-to-be mom, she mentioned the effects that Vitamin D deficiency had on her over the course of her pregnancy thus far. Susan said she felt so weak all the time, almost like her body was just going to collapse at any time. One of the most well-known sources of Vitamin D, besides sunlight, is dairy; and it just so happens that Susan is lactose intolerant. Susan mentioned, “I was taking a prenatal vitamin every day but that’s all I was getting. I rarely ventured outside because of feeling so weak and eventually just couldn’t even motivate myself to move.”

Like Susan, many Americans face being lactose intolerant, and when they don’t receive direct sunlight or take vitamins there isn’t much left to help them acquire the proper amounts of Vitamin D. When I asked Susan what steps she took to get back on track, she said, “I first went to get a professional opinion, but once they said I was deficient and knew I couldn’t have dairy, they prescribed me to two different vitamin D supplements. They also had me take a walk outside for 30 minutes a day under the sunlight with no sunscreen on.” After a few months of this, she was able to focus more on her everyday things and not on trying to motivate herself to move.

Vitamin D is clearly important and definitely underestimated. This is one of the few vitamins that you have to intentionally make sure you are getting enough of. It also happens to be one of the vitamins that contributes solely to bone growth and is an essential thing to have especially when you are growing another life inside you.

 

Susan’s helpful tips

  • Inform yourself on the topic. Make sure you know what you need to know when going into pregnancy. I was Vitamin D efficient when I started my pregnancy but now you’re eating for two and that means you need to adjust to that. Talk to your doctor and get information.
  • Take more than one vitamin D supplement if your doctor recommends it.
  • Take time for yourself and enjoy a walk outside in the sunlight. Get up and move around.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s important for you and your child.

Reference

 

Vitamin D and Pregnancy. (2016, May 19). Retrieved February 28, 2017,

                                  from America pregnancy.org

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