Vitamin D in pregnancy
New research links vitamin D intake during pregnancy to healthier bones in children
Posted: 9 August 2010
Recent news stories have reported that vitamin D intake during pregnancy can have a marked effect on the health of children’s bones later in life. But how important is vitamin D to your pregnancy?
Why you need it
It has long been established that folic acid and multivitamins containing iron can be beneficial during pregnancy, but vitamin D, which is essential for the body to absorb bone-building calcium, is now believed to be key during this time, too.
Where to get it
Although the richest source of the relevant D vitamin is from sunlight, in the UK margarines and cereals are fortified with the vitamin, which can also be derived from oily fish and meat. However, it is important not to take in too much vitamin D, even when you are not pregnant, so if you plan to supplement your dietary intake with tablets, you should check with your doctor beforehand.
Long term benefits
The study, by Southampton General Hospital, looked at the cases of 198 mothers, monitoring their intake of vitamin D during pregnancy and then at the health of the bones of their children nine years later. It found that vitamin D appeared to improve the transference of calcium to the baby and that those children born to mothers with a vitamin D deficiency did not have the bone density of the offpsring of mothers with normal (not high) levels of vitamin D.
Calcium is also an important nutrient during pregnancy, not only for the growing fetus but for the long-term health of the mother, to prevent against conditions like osteoporosis in the years ahead.
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