Vitamin D is an important nutrient for our health, especially in population groups such as pregnant women and growing children.
It is an essential nutrient that helps incorporate calcium from the food we eat, strengthening the bone system, playing a very important role in heart health and fighting infections.
We explain what are the great benefits of Vitamin D in pregnancy and how to maintain adequate levels.
Improves fertility and prevents miscarriages
The role of vitamin D is already observed even before pregnancy as it helps improve fertility, especially benefiting women with a history of previous miscarriages. This vitamin also plays a fundamental role during the first weeks of pregnancy , helping to prevent early miscarriage.
Helps prevent gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a very common condition among pregnant women around the world, and it occurs when the hormones present in pregnancy make it difficult for insulin to work, raising blood sugar levels .
Although there are factors that can predispose to gestational diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy, and following a Mediterranean diet could reduce the chances of suffering from it.
In this sense, recent studies have shown that maintaining correct levels of vitamin D before and during pregnancy would help reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes .
Helps reduce the risk of preeclampsia
Research has shown that vitamin D levels that are too low increase the chance that the mother will have pre-eclampsia.
Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and it is a complication of pregnancy that can have very serious consequences if it is not detected and controlled in time.
Promotes bone development of the baby
During pregnancy, the baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth, as well as for a healthy heart, coagulation systems, and muscles. If it does not receive enough calcium , it will “take it” from the mother’s reserves, which is why it is essential, both for the fetus and for the pregnant woman, that the doses of calcium during pregnancy are adequate.
Vitamin D plays a fundamental role in the correct absorption of calcium. In this sense, if vitamin D levels are low, the baby will not get enough calcium and this could affect its bone development and its correct growth and weight at birth. .
Helps prevent baby cavities
Although the appearance of caries in childhood is associated with multiple factors, it is curious to see the impact that vitamin D also plays during pregnancy on the dental health of children .
Not in vain, researchers have shown that low levels of this vitamin in the second and third trimesters are associated with a higher probability of developing baby bottle tooth decay, as well as defects in the tooth enamel in children.
Promotes cognitive development of the baby
According to a recent investigation carried out in our country, the lack of Vitamin D in pregnancy would cause a worse neurological development of the baby . Likewise, high levels of vitamin D in the mother during pregnancy have also been associated with a higher IQ in children between the ages of four and six.
Helps prevent language disorders and learning problems in the baby
Studies have also shown that low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy are associated with a higher chance of the child having language problems, as well as learning disabilities that vary depending on the month in which the baby was conceived.
These investigations coincide with another study carried out a few years ago in which it was also found that certain cognitive problems such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), intellectual disabilities or learning problems such as dyslexia, could be related to maternal vitamin D levels according to the month of conception.
How to get adequate levels of vitamin D
Doctors have been warning for some time that a significant percentage of the population of our country has vitamin D deficiency ; being especially important when this happens in childhood, adolescence and pregnancy.
Throughout history, the sun has satisfied most of the human being’s requirements for vitamin D , but in recent years there have been a series of changes in our lifestyle that have increased the lack of this vitamin.
That is why it is important to sunbathe , walk or play sports outdoors every day, but always do it safely, especially during pregnancy, since the skin is more sensitive at this stage. In general, it is recommended to guarantee a minimum exposure of 15 minutes to the sun three or four times a week, or 10 minutes of face and hands a day.
According to official data, vitamin D needs through intake are set at 5 µg (200 IU)/day and do not increase during pregnancy. Vitamin D is obtained through the consumption of certain foods such as oily fish (salmon or sardines in oil, for example), shellfish, egg yolks, dairy products, certain organ meats such as liver and fortified cereals.
In addition, it is advisable to control this vitamin through blood tests , especially if we plan to become pregnant, since in case of deficiency the doctor could indicate supplementation.
With regard to routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy, research to date has concluded that insufficient data are available to directly assess the benefits and harms of supplementation .
In any case, it is important to mention that no supplement should ever replace the recommended natural measures of diet and physical exercise outdoors, and that its use should always be recommended and supervised by a specialist .