Nutritional Supplements

Mamas on Bedrest: Could Taking Vitamin D have Prevented My Pregnancy Problems?

February 21st, 2014

TGIF Mamas!!!

I presented the Teleseminar yesterday, “Do You or Don’t You Need Vitamin D”, and I have to say that I was blown away by all that I learned in researching the topic.  The role of Vitamin D in overall health is still under investigation, but what I found in my research to be the general consensus is this:

  • ks15435wVitamin D is important in that is aids in the intestinal absorption of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, phosphate and zinc.
  • Vitamin D does not appear to “cure” anything, but in “adequate levels” in the blood, it seems to augment many bodily systems and functions so as to help ward off disease
  • Vitamin D levels need to be at the recommended levels all the time and before illness begins to be of most benefit.
  • Adequate Vitamin D levels definitely improve bone health in conjunction with adequate calcium levels.
  • Adequate Vitamin D levels in Pregnancy seem to prevent pre-eclampsia and preterm labor. Low levels are associated with Gestational Diabetes, Pre-eclampsia and Low birth weight in infants.
  • Most vitamins on the market don’t contain enough Vitamin D, including most prenatal vitamins. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults take 2000IU-4000IU Vitamin Daily. Most vitamins contain 600IU
  • The Institute of Medicine and the March of Dimes both recommend that pregnant women take 4000IU of Vitamin D Daily
  • Target blood levels are 50 nmol/l according to the Institute of Medicine. However, the International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that individuals with risk factors for osteoporosis aim for blood levels around 75nmol/l.
  • Dark-skinned people are more likely to be Vitamin D deficient because the melanin in our skin does not allow in the sun rays needed to convert cholesterol to Vitamin D in the body. Dark Skinned people should take a Vitamin D supplement because as on researcher said, “Black and brown people are urged to take Vitamin D supplements. There is very little potential risk for harm and the potential benefits are significant.”

 

I first had my Vitamin D level checked in 2009 when I was feeling awful and my doctor was trying to figure out why I was so tired and listless. At that time, my Vitamin D level was 23 nmol/l, well below the recommended 50 nmol/l. I have been taking Vitamin D ever since and now have a level of 53 nmol/l, down from my last year’s check up of 59 nmol/l.  And I have to admit, I have been feeling good and some days, “I just didn’t get around to taking my vitamins”. Well, the dip in my Vitamin D level and learning all of this research has made a believer out of me!

This whole debate really got me thinking. I don’t know how long I had been Vitamin D deficient, but according to what I have read, it may be for most of my life given that I am a dark-skinned black woman born and raised in Massachusetts. As it relates to pregnancy, I wonder if my low Vitamin D levels have anything to do with me developing uterine fibroids? One of the effects of low vitamin D in pregnant women is preterm labor which seems to be due to uterine irritability and/or placental inflammation. Well, fibroids certainly were irritating my uterus! Lost a pregnancy before having them out. Then got pregnant with my daughter and had some spotting, “cramping” (which I now know was preterm contractions) and ended up delivering her at 36 weeks and 6 days at 5 lbs 3 oz (low birth weight). If I had started taking Vitamin D at age 29 when I was first diagnosed with fibroids, would I have had the problems with my uterus/fibroids? Would I have had the miscarriage? Would my daughter have been born early and small?

I know that there are far too many variables to even make this a plausible argument. Likewise, my daughter is now 11 and I had a healthy term baby after her (well, actually after a second miscarriage!). So would Vitamin D have made a difference? I’ll never know. But it’s like the researcher alluded, Taking Vitamin D would not have hurt me and most likely would have helped me. I can’t take back what happened as I was childbearing, but I can and will regularly take 4000 IU Vitamin D daily to keep my immune system working “happily” (there is some talk that a happy immune system is “immune” to developing cancer!), to keep my bones strong and to lower my risk of falls, to ward off autoimmune diseases and to help stave off Diabetes.

Mamas, I am sure that many of you are unsure of whether or not to take vitamin D supplements. Discuss these findings with your doctor or a nutritionist. The evidence is mounting that taking Vitamin D supplements is a good thing for most people. Find out if its a good thing for you! There isn’t much if any risk of injury or harm, and yet taking Vitamin D can do much to improve your overall health. Investigate this for yourself!

I am working on the recording and will make it available soon.  If you have questions or comments about Vitamin D, ask me in the comments section below. I have compiled a lot of information and a great resource for Vitamin D supplements and will gladly share!

 

Mamas on Bedrest: What to Expect in the NICU

August 8th, 2013

It’s Video Thursday!!!

Okay, I got bogged down with some things yesterday and could not get to the blog. Considered scrapping it until next week, but figured, why not go ahead and upload a day later??? So here it is.

Today’s video shares with you information about “What To Expect in the NICU”.  These are a series of short youtube videos produced by Prolacta BioScience, the human breast milk Enhancement company. As you’ll recall, Ms. Terry Johnson RN was gracious enough to join us in a podcast interview last April and share with us what breast milk enhancement is and why it is so important for premature infants.

I really like these videos because they give a good overview of what to expect as your baby is cared for in the NICU. They particularly grabbed my attention as when my daughter was put into the NICU nearly 11 years ago, I had had no warning and was completely blindsided by her being admitted and all that came with it.

While I am not trying to sound like a Nervous Nelly, I would like to suggest that all Mamas on Bedrest at least tuck the link to the videos somewhere safe and convenient so that they can refer to them if/when they need them. Enjoy!!

Mamas on Bedrest: When Your Legs Won’t Rest

June 17th, 2013

Restless Leg Syndrome, involuntary twitching and tingling in the legs, can be a problem during pregnancy and a particular problem for Mamas on Bedrest. The increased weight as a result of pregnancy and the increased stress on the circulatory system are the major reasons that the symptoms occur. Restless Leg Syndrome is primarily relieved by changing positions and/or getting up and moving around-both options that are limited or non-existent for Mamas on Bedrest. Conditions such as pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia often require that Mamas on Bedrest lay on their left sides to increase blood flow back to the heart from the lower extremities, relieving stress on the circulatory system. With this requirement, leg discomfort may be exacerbated with few options for relief. Restless Leg Syndrome can progress and become quite uncomfortable, limiting Mamas’ ability to rest. So how can Mamas on Bedrest manage this non-life-threatening but very annoying problem?

Massage. As previously stated in other posts, prenatal massage is an excellent way for mamas to relax tired, aching muscles during pregnancy. Because of the additional weight, mamas’ bodies shift to accommodate the weight and as a result, the musculoskeletal system shifts out of alignment creating stress on muscles, ligaments and tendons. Prenatal massage therapists are able to rub and soothe these tired, achy tissues and relieve tension, fatigue and pain.

Relaxation. Meditation, hypnosis and deep breathing can also help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Calming the nervous system, relaxing the mind and relieving worry, stress and anxiety often relieve the tingling and twitching associated with restless leg syndrome.

Support your legs. Adequate support and positioning will go far to relieve leg pain and restless leg syndrome.  A Must have for Mamas on Bedrest is a Body Pillow, and positioning that pillow to properly support and align Mama’s body is essential. View our video on pillow positioning for a better bed rest.

Stretch. As previously stated, movement is essential to helping relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome, yet movement for Mamas on Bedrest is limited. There are several simple stretches that mamas can do while on bed rest and we provide them on our free video channel for easy access.

Water. One reason that leg cramps and other symptoms of restless leg syndrome occur is due to dehydration. Adequate water intake is a must for all pregnant women, but especially for pregnant women with restless leg syndrome. Adequate hydration ensures that circulation flows that muscles and soft tissues are well lubricated and that muscle wastes are properly flushed away. But staying hydrated can present an additional problem for Mamas on Bedrest in that the increased fluid intake will result in increased urination. Many mamas try to limit fluid intake which only increases leg cramps, symptoms of restless leg syndrome and can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Its a delicate balance, but mamas, be sure to drink plenty of water while on bed rest.

Vitamins and Minerals. Most pregnant women are prescribed prenatal vitamins, but many of these vitamins only provide the minimum amounts of vital nutrients necessary to sustain pregnancy and mama and baby may need more. There have recently been several studies and articles published documenting the functional amounts of vitamins and nutrients that are needed to ensure that mama is getting all that she needs to remain healthy, for healthy development of the fetus and to sustain the pregnancy. Mamas with restless leg syndrome may be low on potassium or calcium. While it is not advised that mamas take mega doses of vitamins, ensuring that there is adequate, functional levels of vitamins and minerals will help prevent some of the twitching and discomfort of restless leg syndrome. In addition to prenatal vitamins, mamas may want to add or increase bananas-a good source of potassium-and calcium fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetable (also good sources of calcium) to their diets.

Restless Leg Syndrome can be an annoyance, but it needn’t incapacitate Mamas on Bedrest. Implementing the few tips above can go along way to relief and a bed rest free from leg cramps, twitching and tingling. 

 

Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond would like to thank Tammy Mahan, a contributing writer to Healthline.com, for sharing the perils and pearls of Restless Leg Syndrome with us.