More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes

Several new studies have indicated that low Vitamin D levels in early pregnancy are associated with a higher risk for diabetes during pregnancy. We have known for some time that Vitamin D is important for bone growth and normal nerve functioning because of its role in calcium absorption and helping the body to use calcium efficiently. Vitamin D helps cells "differentiate" (become the type of cell they will be) and is important for a healthy immune system.

Severe Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets (a condition where your baby’s bones are too soft and weak). Fortifying foods has decreased the number of cases of rickets but, unfortunately, it still exists.

Studies suggest that levels of vitamin D that are too low may decrease insulin secretion and affect insulin sensitivity. At this point there is some conflicting data, so speak with your doctor about current research. However, low Vitamin D levels are significantly associated with several poor pregnancy outcomes.

Where does Vitamin D come from?

Some fatty fish (especially salmon, sardines, and mackerel) are good sources of vitamin D. Eggs may be a good source of vitamin D if the chickens were fed a diet rich in Vitamin D. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens are good sources. Fortified foods also provide a significant amount of dietary Vitamin D. However, much of our vitamin D is produced by the skin after exposure to sunlight (UVB rays). Caution! Too much exposure to UVB rays can increase your risk of skin cancer so discuss sun exposure with your doctor.

The question of whether to take a Vitamin D supplement is best answered by your physician but many of us are deficient. Taking this on your own could pose a problem because high levels of vitamin D have also been implicated in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Your physician can order a lab test to measure your Vitamin D levels and advise you whether a supplement is beneficial for you.

Globally vitamin D deficiency is estimated between 5 and 84%. Women who live in areas with less sunlight, have darker skin, or veil much of their body are most likely to have low vitamin D levels. Obese women, women who eat an extremely low fat diet, or women who have a condition that makes it difficult to absorb fat may also be low in vitamin D.

If you are planning a pregnancy, see your physician for a checkup before you conceive if possible. In addition to measuring vitamin D levels, talk with your doctor about your weight, diet, and general health status.

If you don’t exercise regularly, start now. In addition to other health benefits, regular exercise can help promote healthy blood sugar levels.

Have regular pre-natal visits. When conditions can’t be prevented, finding them early allows prompt treatment and may help you avoid complications.

Nourish yourself - and your child!

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