Jan. 13, 2020; by Briana McDonald (Silver Bulletin e-News-UtopiaSilver.com) Whenever a woman finds out she is pregnant is the moment she becomes a mother and nothing else in the world matters but the health and safety of this new little life. During pregnancy, many aspects of health are important to keep mama and baby healthy but research shows that Vitamin D may be the most crucial nutrient for a healthy pregnancy from conception to birth, as well as postpartum. (1)
Conception and Vitamin D3
A 2017 study compared women and their partners who did meet the Vitamin D 3 Estimated Average Requirement and those who did not when trying to conceive. Among 132 women, 37.1% did not meet the Vitamin D 3 EAR and 13.9% had serum levels at risk for deficiency. Clinical pregnancies were significantly higher among women who met the Vitamin D 3 EAR (67.5% vs. 49.0%) and with sufficient serum levels (64.3% vs 38.9%) compared to those who did not. (2) Animal studies have even shown that Vitamin D deficiency reduces mating success and fertility. In vitamin D deficient male rats, there is a reduction in successful mating, imcomplete speratogenesis, degenerative changes, low sperm counts and reduced number of mobile spermatozoa.
Miscarriage and Low Vitamin D levels
A 2015 study published by the American Society for Nutrition found a link between low levels of vitamin D and miscarraiges in the first trimester. In this study, 1683 pregnant women donated blood samples to test serum levels of vitamin D before gestational week 22. The study showed that the adjusted hazard of first-trimester miscarriage was lower with women who had higher serum levels of vitamin D. Concentrations of vitamin D that were significantly lower were associated with a two-fold increase risk for miscarriage. (3)
Lower risk of Premature Birth with Vitamin D
William B. Grant from the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center conducted a study in April of 2011 that was highly regarded for it’s correlation between low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and its associated risk of placental colonization by a bacterial species common in bacterial vaginosis (BV) which was known to cause premature birth. Vitmain D reduces the risk of bacterial infections through the induction of cathelicidin and defensins and was also found to show reduced risks for several types of diseases linked to bacterial infections including dental caries, pneumonia, severe sepsis and tuberculosis. Sadly enough, women are not advised to obtain sufficiet vitamin D during pregancy. According to the study, pregnant women require up to 6,400 IU/day of vitamin D3. The group in the study was a randomized controlled trial of vitmain D supplementation with up to 6,000 IU/day and found no adverse effects. (4)
Prevent and Treat Gestational Diabetes with 5000 IU/per day vitamin D3
Vitamin D deficiency is common in pregnancy, leading to an increase in the frequency of preeclampsia, cesarean delivery, neonatal bacterial vaginosis and gestational diabetes. Studies have confirmed that higher serum levels of vitamin D reduced the risk of developing gestational diabetes by 3 times. (5) The study was designed and implemented to investigate the effect of vitamin D during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy in reducing the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in women who are at high risk. In a randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled trial, 90 pregnant women who had at least one risk factor for gestational diabetes were randomized into intervention (46 participants) and control (44 participants) groups. Participants in the intervention group took 5000 units of vitamin D daily and the control group took the placebo until the 26th week of pregnancy. Then, the glucose challenge test and the glucose tolerance test were performed to evaluate gestational diabetes. The results showed that the incidence of diabetes in the intervention groups were statistically lower than the control group (11.4% vs 34.8%) (6)
Eliminate the Baby Blues by increasing Vitamin D Intake
As if pregnancy and birth itself it’s traumatic enough, for some unfortunate women there is also the postpartum depression that can inevitably strike after your body gives birth. A 2016 randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation on perinatal depression in Iranian pregnant mothers showed a 40 percent decrease within just a few weeks when 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 was administered daily. (7) Not only is vitamin D crucial for a healthy pregnancy, but a healthy delivery and postpartum as well.