It seems like practically every day we learn more and more about the importance that vitamin D plays in a healthy pregnancy and postpartum. In this new study from Iran, women were supplemented with 2000 IU of vitamin D for only two weeks, and they saw a reduction in depression after birth.
As well, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with:
- increased incidence of gestational diabetes
- increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia
- low birth weight and impaired bone mineralization
- asthma/wheezing in children
So what should you do? I recommend the following to my clients…
- Most women should be getting 2000-4000 IU of vitamin D3 in supplement form daily:
- Look at your general prenatal vitamin and see how much D is in there (it’s usually 500 IU or so).
- Find a good quality D3 supplement to fill the gap (such as this one).
- If you are darker complected, aim for 4000 IU every day.
- If you don’t get AT LEAST 30 minutes of outdoor time every day, aim for 4000.
- And if you’re not getting outside for fresh air and sunshine every day, do!
While the RDA is 600 IU, this is well-known to be too low, and studies show daily supplementation of 4000 per day to be safe, and that toxicity wouldn’t be reached until supplementation with levels of 20,000 or higher.
It is also important to note that supplementing mom with 6400 IU of vitamin D for 6 months postpartum ensures adequate vitamin D levels for the exclusively breastfed babe–without having to directly supplement the baby with 400 IU (as is the current recommendation). It’s just as well-documented that vitamin D is critical for baby’s growth and development.
So many things about pregnancy and birth are out of our control, but this one simple supplement has the potential to improve so many things. So take your vitamin D–and go play outside!