Vitamin D is a fat-soluble steroid vitamin. Nicknamed the “sun vitamin,” Vitamin D can be obtained from sun exposure, food and supplements. There are five different forms of Vitamin D, namely D1-D5. As far as human health is concerned, Vitamin D2 and D3 are the most important and are used in nutritional supplements.
The average person requires 10-15 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week on the face, arms, hands or back without sunscreen to absorb adequate amounts of Vitamin D3. Longer exposures start to degrade the existing vitamin supply faster than its generated. If adequate natural Vitamin D exposure cannot be obtained, increasing Vitamin D-rich food intake or the use of supplements may be required.
Vitamin D helps to regulate immune systems and fight off colds, which is a beneficial tool for everyone, especially pregnant women. Vitamin D aids in fetal development as it maintains sufficient levels of calcium and phosphorus, thus helping to build the baby’s bones and teeth, assists in brain function later in life and some studies have shown that Vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing muscular sclerosis. Low levels of Vitamin D have shown many issues with fetal development and Vitamin D deficiencies in babies has been linked to growth retardation, skeletal deformities, low birth weights, weaker bones, asthma, and behavioural and language development problems. Women also experience changes in their skin throughout pregnancy as it often becomes far more sensitive than normal. Vitamin D is important, but pregnant women must be careful, as they may be far more susceptible to burns! The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D for pregnant women is 400IU.