Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnancy

A recent study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, has found that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can have a negative effect on the social development and motor skills of pre-school aged children (follow link below to read more).

Vitamin D deficiency may be more common than we think!

We get the majority of our Vitamin D through sun exposure, which allows our skin to make vitamin D. But many of us don’t get enough sun exposure for our skin to make adequate amounts of vitamin D – especially in higher latitudes and/or the winter months.

We can also get vitamin D through food; however, Vitamin D is found in a very limited number of foods and it can be difficult to meet vitamin D requirements through diet alone.

To ensure they’re meeting their vitamin D needs, pregnant women should include the following foods in their diets.

Milk and alternatives. Aim for a minimum of 500 mL per day of cow’s milk or fortified soy, almond or rice beverage. Increase your intake by using milk or a milk alternative in baking, soups and smoothies. Add milk instead of cream to coffee. Include a serving of fortified yogurt as part of a meal or snack most days.

Fortified orange juice. If you enjoy a glass of orange juice, be sure to buy one that is fortified with vitamin D. It will be written on the front of the carton.

Eggs. Consume the whole egg, as vitamin D is found in the egg yolk. For most people, it is safe to consume 5 – 7 eggs per week. Enjoy eggs prepared in a variety of ways at breakfast. Add a hard-boiled egg to salads. Experiment with omelettes, quiches and frittatas.

Fatty fish. Although pregnant women must be careful with fish intake due to mercury and other toxins, they can still include small amounts of fish in their diet. Fish such as salmon, trout, herring and Atlantic mackerel tend to have lower levels of mercury. Fish oil supplements are also safe during pregnancy.

Vitamin D supplementation. For pregnant women who don’t get enough sun exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, they can speak with their healthcare provider about vitamin D supplementation.

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