Insufficient amounts of Vitamin D during pregnancy may result in obese offspring
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40-60% of the U.S. population, including pregnant women, is deficient in Vitamin D. Getting enough of the sunshine vitamin is challenging as there are very few foods that contain it – for example eggs, button mushrooms, fatty fish and fortified foods like milk, cheese, yogurt and cereal are the main dietary sources of vitamin D. Luckily our bodies synthesize about 95% of the Vitamin D we need from the sun.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, known to play an important role in maintaining healthy teeth and bones. Deficiency in adults has been linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. During pregnancy, deficiency could result in obese children – that’s the conclusion according to a study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.
Over 500 mothers were enrolled in the study. Their Vitamin D levels were measured on their first prenatal visit and their child’s measurements for height and weight were taken later at preschool age, 4 and 6 years old. They found that D deficiency in early pregnancy was associated with infants born with higher BMI’s and more body fat at 4 and 6 years old.
In this study about 2/3 of participants were deficient in Vitamin D at the start. It’s important to note that, like many other nutrients, the recommended intake of Vitamin D is higher for pregnant women; it increases during pregnancy, from 400IU to 600IU. It’s recommended to supplement with a pre-natal vitamin before getting pregnant, though most only contain about 400IU. To be sure you’re getting enough, make an effort to eat foods that contain Vitamin D and get into the habit of going for a 10-15 minute walk outside. It does double duty- helping you to stay active and gets you a dose of the sunshine vitamin.
Published May 1, 2018