Over the last weekend in June, the Naturopathic Doctors at Vive Integrative Health Group attended the biennial Health Fusion conference – an interesting and informative conference hosted by the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. This year, the theme was Family Medicine and there was an array of lecture topics including environmental impacts on men’s health to insomnia in women to nutritional interventions during perinatal and childhood years.
This month’s blog postings will feature a topic each our Naturopathic Doctors found interesting and wanted to share with you!
Vitamin D in Pregnancy and Infancy
Vitamin D is often known as the “sunshine” vitamin since our bodies produce it when we are exposed to the sun. Vitamin D plays many roles in the body including fighting infections, reducing risk factors for heart disease and keeping bones healthy and strong. Additionally, it plays an extremely important role during pregnancy for both mother and baby.
Nearly 50% of women do not have sufficient levels of Vitamin D in their bodies during pregnancy. This may be due to a lack of sun exposure, increased demand for Vitamin D during pregnancy or too low of a dietary intake. Whatever the reason, this deficiency increases the risk of illnesses like pre-eclampsia for the mother. It also appears that the higher the mother’s level of Vitamin D, her risk of developing pre-eclampsia becomes even lower.
Additionally, low maternal Vitamin D status also increases the risk for the baby of developing problems such as impaired growth, type one diabetes, asthma and even schizophrenia. Low maternal Vitamin D levels have strong effects on baby’s developing brain, affecting changes in shape, cell growth and size. Research also demonstrates that higher Vitamin D intake during pregnancy can reduce the risk of asthma as much as 40% in children by the age of three to five.
Clearly, Vitamin D is very important for both the health of the mother and baby. It can be found in a limited number of foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Taking a Vitamin D supplement during pregnancy and infancy can be very important and it is best to speak with your Naturopathic Doctor to find the best dose to support your optimal health.
~ Dr. Kate Hadfield