Sunshine Vitamin Deemed Essential For Pregnant Women


Sunshine Vitamin Deemed Essential For Pregnant WomenPregnant women who have low levels of vitamin D face a five-fold risk of preeclampsia, a serious complication during pregnancy which can lead to death of the fetus. Preeclampsia is marked by soaring blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet, and is the leading cause of premature delivery and maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide, believed to contribute to 76,000 deaths each year. Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition for pregnant women, often forcing women to deliver prematurely to protect her health and the baby’s. Being a vitamin closely associated with bone health, vitamin D deficiency early in life is associated with rickets in children.


While the actual prevalence of rickets is hard to define, more and more healthcare professionals are diagnosing cases of vitamin D deficiency. There is seasonal variation in vitamin D status: it is lowest during winter, when we rely on body stores and dietary intake to maintain adequate levels. In winter months at latitudes of 52 degrees north (above Birmingham), there is no ultraviolet light of the appropriate wavelength for the body to make vitamin D in the skin.


 

 

Sunshine Vitamin Deemed Essential For Pregnant WomenIt takes only 15 minutes exposure of the arms, head and shoulders in the sun each day during the summer months to make enough vitamin D for good health. Eating foods like oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals and breads are all sources of vitamin D, but these may still be inadequate when sunshine hours are limited. At these times pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under four may benefit from a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.


Pregnant and breastfeeding women are recommended to take vitamin D supplement to ensure babies get the best start in life. Babies tend to receive vitamin D from their mothers while in the womb, and then from breast milk until they are weaned. If a pregnant or breastfeeding woman is lacking in vitamin D, the baby will also have low vitamin D and calcium levels which can lead babies to develop seizures in the first months of life.
 

Women, pregnant as well as lactating are advised to enjoy the sun safely and prevent sunburn. Once vitamin D requirements are met, further exposure to sunlight will not result in any extra health benefits - however, it will increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
 

There are only a few foods that are good sources of vitamin D, so vitamin D supplements are often recommended unless you are exposed to sunlight on your skin regularly.
Suggested dietary sources of vitamin D are listed below.

 


Selected Food Sources of Vitamin D

Food

International Units(IU)
per serving

Percent DV
DailyValue)*

Pure Cod liver oil, 1 Tablespoon (Note: most refined cod liver oils today have the vitamin D removed! Check your label to be certain.)

1,360

340

Salmon, cooked, 3½ ounces

360

90

Mackerel, cooked, 3½ ounces

345

90

Tuna fish, canned in oil, 3 ounces

200

50

Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 1¾ ounces

250

70

Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D fortified, 1 cup

98

25

Margarine, fortified, 1 Tablespoon

60

15

Pudding, prepared from mix and made with vitamin D fortified milk, ½ cup

50

10

Ready-to-eat cereals fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, ¾ cup to 1 cup servings (servings vary according to the brand)

40

10

Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in egg yolk)

20

6

Liver, beef, cooked, 3½ ounces

15

4

Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce

12

4


Vitamin D AI for infants, children, and adults, are listed below in International Units.



Daily Adequate Intake of Vitamin D
 


Age

Children

Men

Women

Pregnancy

Lactation

Birth to 13 years

200 IU





14 to 18 years

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

19 to 50 years

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

200 IU

51 to 70 years

400 IU

400 IU




71 + years

600 IU

600 IU





Dated 25 December 2012

 

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