Vitamin-D is widely known as “sunshine vitamin”, produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It has been medically researched that there could be a possible up-regulated action of the enzyme due to which there are good chances of Vitamin D deficiency even in people living in tropical countries. Shunning from the sun, being lactose intolerant or adhering to a strict vegan diet may put one at the risk of this nutrient deficiency.
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Research reveals the importance of Vitamin- D in supporting its role in many healthy ways, especially in pregnant women. Foetal needs of Vitamin -D increases during the latter half of pregnancy when the bone growth & ossification are more prominent. Bone mineralisation or Calcium accretion commences from the 2nd month of pregnancy and reaches a peak by the 6th month.
Vitamin D is also a very essential nutrient to enhance the absorption of various other nutrients like Calcium, Iron, Phosphate, Zinc and Magnesium.
ROLE OF VITAMIN D IN PREGNANCY
Vitamin D has multiple roles to play in pregnancy, from the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption to the prevention of abnormalities in the foetus. “Below are some such roles of Vitamin D in pregnancy diet”.
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- Vitamin D plays a very important role in maintaining adequate levels of Calcium & Phosphate – Helps in the formation of healthy bones & teeth.
- Promotes insulin action- i.e. abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood due to glucose accumulation by erratic food intake & many other reasons which means Lesser chances to develop Gestational Diabetes
- Hypovitaminosis-D during pregnancy is associated with high instances of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension & pre-eclampsia (is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine.)
- The deficiency is associated with bacterial vaginitis in a pregnant woman.
- Reduced foetal lung development & neonatal immune conditions such as asthma is prominently related to low levels of maternal Vitamin D.
- It also reduces the risk of occurrence of cardio related issues in the newborns.
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SOURCES OF VITAMIN-D
Apart from “bright sunlight” which is a potent source, other food sources of Vitamin D are as follows:
REQUIREMENT OF VITAMIN-D DURING PREGNANCY
Expecting mothers need to make sure that they get the recommended amounts of Vitamin -D for their own wellbeing & healthy development of the baby.
- If a pregnant woman has an adequate amount of the nutrient – 600IU/day will suffice.
- A deficient pregnant woman will require about a 1500-2000IU/day.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is crucial for you and your baby’s good health. So, add Vitamin D to your pregnancy diet today and enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.
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Contributed by- Ms Sneha Sanjay (Clinical Nutritionist, Jayanagar)