Vitamin D is important - as we all know it makes strong bones. But there is so much much more. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and plays a critical role in our immune systems.
When you are pregnant, you are building an amazing little human from the resources in your own body. If you have low vitamin D, you are building a baby that will be born with low vitamin D levels. But perhaps even more critical is what happens at the very beginning of pregnancy - the development of the placenta. Researchers are now learning that low vitamin D levels in a mother puts her at higher risk for placental problems. And the placenta is the organ that keeps your baby growing and thriving in the womb. When the placenta isn’t working right health problems show up for mom and baby.
When you have your own Vitamin D at a healthy level- you reduce the risk of preeclampsia, reduce the risk of pre term birth and deliver a baby with a healthy vitamin D level (which is critical for the immune system).
Here is what you do: Get your Vitamin D Levels where they should be.
Just go ahead and take the supplement, not knowing what your current level is. Research tells us that pregnant women who 4,000iu/day and get enough vitamin D for everything to function as it should.
Or.....If you can, get your vitamin D level checked. (If it’s costly or not feasible with your Care provider, order a kit directly from Grass Roots Health). Then, supplement appropriately to get you into a healthy level. You want to be at least 40ng/ml. (The vitamin D Council has this great chart to help you determine how much supplement you need or this calculator that takes into account your body weight)
So, what if pregnancy is a thing of the past and you are breastfeeding. Same idea: An exclusively breastfed baby is relying on the resources of your body to get what they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies receive a Vitamin D supplement. Why is that? Because sooo many mothers are vitamin D deficient.
But you are now officially informed. If you, the breastfeeding parent, has healthy Vitamin D levels, then your baby does not need a supplement. Why give the baby a supplement (which is a pain to do by the way), when you can give your self a supplement and take care of two people at once. Yay!
Research shows that a breastfeeding mother should take 6,400iu of Vitamin D per day. When she does this - both her and her baby have the amount of Vitamin D they need for their body to function as it was designed.
Learn more on this great podcast on "Born to be Breastfed" with Dr. Carol Wagner - Vitamin D expert
Or, here is the link for apple podcasts
For information and support during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, contact Bianca Wooden, IBCLC for a consultation.
Of course, I am not a physician. Every person and every situation is different. I am providing some general information, no a diagnosis or specific recommendation for you. Take the information you learn here and talk to your care team about how it applies to you.
Bianca Wooden, IBCLC