Vitamin D for Pregnancy and Newborns
Consult Your Doctor BEFORE taking any recommended Vitamin D on your own.
What are the recommendations for vitamin D during pregnancy?
It is recommended that all pregnant women take the prenatal vitamins that contain 400 IU of vitamin D a day along with a vitamin D supplement of 1,000 IU a day. Their calcium supplements may also contain 400 IU of vitamin D a day, and 2,000 IU of vitamin D day is fine, especially for obese women. They should have a blood level of vitamin D between 30 and 100 nanograms per milliliter.
What are the recommendations for dispensing vitamin D to breastfeeding infants?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with the recommendation that all infants, including breastfed infants, should receive 400 IU of vitamin D a day. This is the bare minimum. Remember, 2,000 IU a day during the first year of life can decrease a child’s risk of diabetes by nearly 80 percent. Thus, giving infants 1,000 IU a day may be more beneficial to their health.
If a woman is already taking 400 IU of vitamin D in a prenatal vitamin, how much more is needed ruing pregnancy and breastfeeding?
All pregnant and lactating women should take the prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU of vitamin D a day along with an additional 1,000 IU vitamin D supplement, for a total of at least 1,400 IU of vitamin D a day. They should also take calcium supplements (1,000 milligrams a day, which can be split into two servings of 500 milligrams each). Or they can obtain their calcium by drinking three to four glasses of skim milk or calcium-fortified orange juice, which will likely be fortified with vitamin D, too. Pregnant and lactating women can easily take 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day without causing any toxicity. They should maintain a blood level of vitamin D between 30 and 100 nanograms per milliliter.
We used to think too much Vitamin D in pregnant women would cause the fetus’s head growth to be stunted. Is that a myth?
Yes, it is a myth. Taking the recommended 1,400 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day will not stunt the fetus’s head growth. Vitamin D deficiency in utero, however, can.
Why are infants only to receive 400 IU? How about premature infants?
Infants appear to satisfy most of their vitamin D requirement for bone health by receiving 400 IU of vitamin D a day. This is the recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society. There is some evidence that premature infants may not be able to metabolize vitamin D as efficiently, but there are no data to suggest that giving a premature infant more than 400 IU of vitamin D a day has any additional benefit. Thus, infants, including premature infants, receive at least 400 IU of vitamin D a day, and that up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day is safe for them.
I am in the third trimester and have been supplementing with 1,400 IU of vitamin D3 a day. My doctor wants me to stop supplementing because my levels of activated vitamin D are twice normal and my vitamin D is normal. She’s worried about toxicity. Should I be?
Absolutely not. Activated vitamin D goes up during the second and third trimester; this is in response to your body’s making more vitamin D-binding protein and your need to increase your efficiency of absorbing dietary supplemental calcium for fetal mineralization. You are perfectly fine and should continue to take your vitamin D. you and your baby will benefit.