If you are considering pregnancy, recent research suggests that vitamin D could play an important role in reducing your chance of miscarriage plus increase the odds of a healthy birth.
Starting a family is a lifetime goal for many women and men. While pregnancy and a growing family are a natural course for many couples, others struggle with infertility. Infertility challenges dreams, finances, and can strain relationships. Approximately 10 percent of women between 15 and 44 years of age in the United States have trouble conceiving and carrying a baby to term.
Many women and couples work with fertility specialists and undergo expensive treatments that have no guarantee of delivery. In a study published in The Lancet, researchers funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found an important place for vitamin D in planning and maintaining a pregnancy.
Lack of Vitamin D Associated With Miscarriage
When planning a pregnancy, or if you are pregnant, it is critical to get good prenatal advice. Your physician may suggest a prenatal multi-vitamin to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need, and you may want to be sure vitamin D is included.
Vitamin D is important for health and wellness. While your own body can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, it is also available in food like fish, cheese, egg yolks, and fortified foods. The vitamin helps mediate the use of calcium throughout your body and has been associated with the health of the immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, bone strength, and other systems.
Researchers wondered if women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were more likely to conceive, and then carry the pregnancy through to birth. To test the idea, study authors ran a clinical trial with approximately 1200 women volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40. Each had suffered one or more pregnancy loss prior to the study. Volunteers were recruited from four sites throughout the US.
Blood levels of vitamin D were tested prior to pregnancy and during the eighth week of pregnancy. A healthy level of vitamin D was considered to be 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Anything below that level was considered insufficient.
The Findings Speak For Themselves
The findings support the usefulness of vitamin D in supporting a healthy pregnancy, including:
- Women with a “sufficient” level of vitamin D were 10 percent more likely to become pregnant.
- These same women were 15 percent more likely to carry the pregnancy to live birth than those who did not have similar levels of vitamin D.
- For women who did become pregnant during the research period, “each 10 nanogram per milliliter increase” in vitamin D before conception equated to a 12 percent lower risk of miscarriage.
These are important findings that bear review by healthcare practitioners. The results are not a good reason to self-dose with large quantities of vitamin D supplements in the mistaken belief that it will speed and safeguard a pregnancy. Remember that the body can create its own vitamin D, and if you already have enough vitamin D in your blood, supplementing with more will not likely help.
If you are thinking about pregnancy, speak with your physician about your nutrient levels and what you can do to help conceive or carry a healthy pregnancy.
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