In recent years, we have learned that sufficient blood levels of this vitamin are crucial to our health, and also that a significant proportion of the population, including pregnant women, is deficient. Vitamin D is an immune-supporting nutrient and during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, it is a key factor in growth of the baby’s skeleton. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of pregnant women and breastfed infants are deficient in vitamin D, and deficiency is associated with pregnancy complications.
For pregnant and nursing women, vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency has been associated with increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections and low birthweight. Vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy is also associated with impaired growth during infancy, greater body fat mass and greater risk of low bone mass and autoimmune diseases during childhood.
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