With all the publicity surrounding vitamin D lately, it’s no surprise that every pregnant woman is curious to know about it. Keeping mind full of the questions should she test herself for deficiency of vitamin D? When? What numbers of vitamin D should you consume? And how to deal with the low vitamin D level?
In pregnancy, these issues become critical because you have to consider your baby as well. You should monitor the vitamin D status in your body when you are pregnant.
Foetus requirement for vitamin D increases during the latter half of pregnancy, when baby’s bone growth and ossification are most prominent. Vitamin D travels to the fetus by passive transfer, and the vitamin D fetus is entirely dependent on maternal stores. Therefore, maternal nutritional status is a direct reflection of fetus nutritional status.
The vitamin D level in breast milk also directly proportional to the maternal serum level, and a low vitamin D level in breast milk can exert a harmful effect on your baby.
In this article you will learn about:
- What is vitamin D?
- Why you need vitamin D?
- Sources of vitamin D.
- How much vitamin D you need?
- Signs of vitamin D deficiency.
- What happens if your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D?
- Should you take supplements of vitamin D?
What is vitamin D?
There are two forms of vitamin D known as D2 and D3. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is made by
plants while vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is made by animals which include humans as well. Both forms of vitamin
D require UV light, specifically UVB in the spectrum of 280–320 nm to catalyze the reaction. (Just For the
remainder of this article, vitamin D will be referred to as vitamin D3 unless otherwise mentioned). The alternative
name of vitamin D is Calcitriol calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) (or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D); ergocalciferol
(vitamin D2); cholecalciferol (vitamin D3); Vitamin D is considered as a hormone rather than a vitamin.
The body synthesizes most of the vitamin D, it needs; only about 10% comes from our food that we eat. A substance
called Cholecalciferol produced by our skin in the presence of sunlight. Cholecalciferol is converted to calcidiol by the
liver and circulate this into the blood. Although if you are interested then the classic story of vitamin D is that
circulating 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is being processed by the kidney and converted to dihydroxyvitamin D
(1,25[OH]2D or calcitriol), the active hormonal form of vitamin D, by the action of the enzyme 1-α-hydroxylase (also
known as CYP27B1), which is a cytochrome P450 enzyme.
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Why do you need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is beneficial for your own body health. Your body requires vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium
and phosphorus, which help to build your baby’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D now has extensive research supporting
its role in immune function in the human body followed by healthy cell division and bone health.
13 Reasons to prove the importance of vitamin D in pregnancy.
- Vitamin D plays a role in multiple endocrine systems. Not only does vitamin D affect the bone metabolism of the fetus, it also modulates immune responses and even glucose metabolism of the newborn. Vitamin D receptors have also been found in the placenta but their role in that organ remains to be elucidated.
2. Low Amount of vitamin D have been associated with increased rates of cesarean delivery, therefore, an insufficient amount of vitamin D is required for normal delivery.
3. Level of vitamin D is directly associated with bacterial vaginosis and preeclampsia, as mentioned above Vitamin D is associated with immune response. HOW? vitamin D acts on an endogenous antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin (LL-37), generated by the innate immune system in response to microbial invasion. Sounds great.
4. Vitamin D plays a vital role in efficient glucose metabolism of both mother and baby.
5. Motivates the calcium and phosphorus absorption from the intestine for the healthy bone.
6. Keeps the essential in the body by increased urinary calcium re-absorption because vital organs such as the heart, muscle, and brain cannot function without adequate calcium in the body.
7. It plays a vital role in Regulation of parathyroid hormone in a negative feedback loop, such a musketeer.
8. Vitamin D helps the baby to build the adaptive immune system, it acts on T and B cells as well.
9. It plays the role of the king while fighting against certain cancer like certain cancers, such as colon breast and prostate cancer.
10. Presence of vitamin D is required to fight diabetes – both Types 1 and 2.
11. Vitamin D deficiency shows adverse pregnancy outcomes. For example, there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and maternal preeclampsia.
12. Adequate nutritional vitamin D status in the mother during pregnancy is important for fetus skeletal development, fetal tooth enamel formation and perhaps general overall fetal growth and development.
13.Vitamin D intake during pregnancy is directly proportional to birth weight, with every additional 40 IU of maternal vitamin D intake, there was an associated 11-g increase in birth weight of the baby.