While Today is April Fool’s Day, the news below is certainly no joke. Yet another study has reported that low levels of Vitamin D in pregnant women is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Fariba Aghajafari, MD, CCFP, and colleagues from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, published their findings after performing a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available data online March 26 in in the British Medical Journal. Reviewing data from studies published on MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane database of registered clinical trials, the researchers reviewed 31 studies and found the following results:
- Low levels of 25-OHD Vitamin D (the best indicator of Vitamin D status in Humans) is associated with increased risk of Gestational Diabetes
- Low levels of 25-OHD Vitamin D is associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia
- Low levels of 25-OHD Vitamin D is associated with small for gestational age infants.
And these findings are only from this one study! We here at Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond have reported in several of our blog posts the effects of low levels of Vitamin D and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Here is what we have found in the literature to date:
- Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with Post Partum Depression.
- Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with Gestational Diabetes
- Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with Pre-Eclampsia
- Low levels of Vitamin D are associated Low Birth Weight and Asthma in the Baby
We have also found that while current medical recommendations are only 200-400 IU of Vitamin D for daily supplementation, Studies we have seen recommend far more for optimum function (upwards of 2000-4000IU daily).
So what should you do with all of this information? Talk To Your Doctor!! While you may initially experience a bit of push back from your OB, if you bring in these citations, they will take you seriously. Leading medical experts are recognizing the importance of Vitamin D supplementation and noting that the vast majority of individuals in the United States are deficient. Interestingly enough, darker skinned people are at increased risk of Vitamin D Deficiency because Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin from the sun and darker skin protects against penetration from the sun’s rays, so less Vitamin D is absorbed by darker skinned individuals.
Personally, I think that there is a growing body of evidence to support Vitamin D supplementation. The question becomes, at what dose? You will have to discuss this with your doctor. My guess is that optimum dosage may have to be done individually and for that, you may need to have blood levels of Vitamin D assessed in order to figure out how much (if any) supplementation you need.
I warn you now that not all OB’s have jumped on the Vitamin D bandwagon. Many are content to simply prescribe a prenatal vitamin and leave it at that as they, “Don’t believe the hype”. But I suggest to you that if you are at increased risk for any of he aforementioned conditions for which low vitamin D levels increase the risk, then at the very least a discussion with your physician is in order. It may not be the ultimate cure for what ails you, but if it can help you decrease your risk of pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes, a simple pill or 2 a days seems easy enough for your OB to prescribe and for you to take, and there is little to no risk of toxicity or overdose.
Talk with your doctor about your Vitamin D levels and see if you need supplementation. It’s easy, and it may well vastly improve your health, the health of your baby and your ability to have a healthy, full term infant.
In my quest to be ever balanced, I have filmed a short stretch/strength series for an upper body workout. Enjoy!
As I am easing back into exercising after my bout with the flu, I’ve been amazed at how stiff and deconditioned my body has become after just 4-5 days in bed. This really brought me back into the world of Mamas on Bedrest. Some Mamas on Bedrest spend as much as 18-20 weeks or more on bed rest during their pregnancies. Is it any wonder that many Mamas on Bedrest end up with assisted vaginal deliveries or cesarean sections?
Regardless of the mode of delivery, after a long period of inactivity (or very limited activity) Mamas on Bedrest are going to be plagued with various aches, pains and musculskeletal irregularities as they emerge from their bed rest tenures. In an effort to decrease the physical shock to the body, Bedrest Coach Darline Turner takes mamas through a short lower body stretch. This stretch can be done daily (with consent from your obstetrician or midwife!) and will begin the process of waking up your dormant, deconditioned lower body.