Everyone's always trying to tell pregnant women how to eat, how to sleep, and what to do to make themselves as healthy as possible. Now a new study urges many pregnant women to do what we probably should all do - consume vitamin D.
Not just a regular dose - according to CNN, but pregnant women should consume 10 times more vitamin D than the current guidelines dictate. This news dovetails with another recent study that concluded that babies need a lot of vitamin D as well.
In the past, doctors have been concerned that too much vitamin D consumed while pregnant may lead to birth defects. The new research suggests the exact opposite. The National Institutes of Health looked at 500 women who took various levels of vitamin D: 400 IU, 2,000 IU or 4,000 IU. The women who took the highest dosage were least likely to have premature labor, premature babies or develop infections.
Vitamin D is having its 15 minutes of fame - recently studies have shown links to vitamin D deficiency and heart disease, certain types of cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
So how do we make sure we're getting enough D? Well, probably the most delightful way is the sun. Make sure your whole body is covered in sunscreen (especially your face and other exposed areas) and spend a little bit of time in the sun every day. It's difficult in the winter, and for many professionals who spend most of their days in an office. But taking the time out to enjoy the outdoors, be in the sun and soak in vitamin D can improve your overall mental and physical health. Just watch out for sun burns and take preventative care against skin cancer.
For those expecting women however, the sun alone will not do. Taking supplements, available now at most natural health and grocery stores, will help you get the right amount of vitamin D into your system.
Another point of caution - take all studies with a grain of salt! At the end of the day, it's best to consult your health professional and your obstetrician or midwife to see what is the best way to keep your baby healthy and your pregnancy as smooth and healthy as possible.