June 15, 2023

Recommended Vitamin D Dose During Pregnancy

The more we learn about how vitamin D works in the body, the more we realize how vital it is in our everyday lives. Vitamin D plays a role in so many bodily functions, but it’s not always immediately apparent. If it’s important on a regular basis, it’s even more vital during pregnancy, when your body is working harder than ever.

Vitamin D is an essential part of a pregnant woman's diet for a number of reasons. In fact, it plays a role in the development and growth of both mother and baby during pregnancy, in addition to helping regulate hormones. But how much is a reasonable vitamin D dose during pregnancy? 

Here’s how vitamin D impacts you during pregnancy, as well as its impact on fetal development—and what the recommended dose is.

Three Major Benefits of Vitamin D During Pregnancy

1. Improved fetal growth and bone development

While vitamin D is often thought of in association with the sun and overall mood, this vitamin plays a major part in bone density and development. This is because vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium—a building block of strong bones. These two are so intricately linked that the body cannot absorb calcium if there is no vitamin D present.

Furthermore, vitamin D helps with cell growth and differentiation throughout the body, which can be important for proper development and healthy cells. Without sufficient vitamin D in the mother's diet, the fetus is at risk for weakened bones and poor growth. 

2. Reduced risk for preterm birth and low birth weight

Adequate levels of vitamin D during pregnancy have also been linked to the reduced risk of premature birth and low birth weight babies. Because of the role vitamin D plays in hormone regulation, sufficient levels of the vitamin can help support a full-term pregnancy. 

3. Improved maternal health and well-being

Vitamin D has also shown that it can improve maternal health and overall well-being. Studies have identified that pregnant women with adequate vitamin D levels were less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, particularly postpartum depression. 

Vitamin D is also important for helping the body absorb nutrients from food, particularly during pregnancy when the body is already quite taxed. 

Additionally, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to preeclampsia, which can be deadly if not properly treated. Preeclampsia is often diagnosed when high blood pressure is reported and/or too much protein is found in the pregnant woman’s urine. Be sure to read up on the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia so you can monitor your conditions between appointments. 

Vitamin D Dose During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, the recommended dose of vitamin D during pregnancy is around 600 IU per day. However, some say you can take up to 4,000 IU daily. Note that vitamin D comes in varying doses, so be careful when making your selection.

However, each person is different, and people who live in warm, sunny climates may have higher vitamin D levels than those in colder climates. Your prenatal vitamin almost certainly contains vitamin D, but it may not be enough for you. Always check with your physician before taking a supplement—especially during pregnancy. 

Still Have Questions?

Our patients are always welcome to contact us to ask questions. And, of course, if you have questions for the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription, they can help point you in the right direction as well.