On arriving back from holiday I was full of the vigour of someone who had over indulged and was ready for a bit of a detox, hence this post which had my list of dos and don’ts (pregnancy health and diet wise) going forward.

Things are going well so far (although I’m about to have some cheese cake!) and I’ve been getting back into my pregnancy exercises.

Today I wanted to talk about pregnancy nutrition. There are 9 essential vitamins needed during pregnancy and I’ve discussed the merits of Vitamin K in a post a few weeks ago. Next up is the Vitamin D pregnancy diet.

Vitamin D is essential in pregnancy for the healthy development of both us and our babies. It maintains (and develops in shorty) strong bones and teeth, and it’s needed by muscles, nerves and the immune system. It is also linked to calcium in that it helps with the absorption of it (hence the importance of Vit D to our bones and teeth). According to Dr Elina Hypponen in the British Journal of Nutrition, if there is a deficiency it can be ‘life threatening to babies’. So get topped up both throughout pregnancy and while breast feeding!

So, firstly, how much Vitamin D does a pregnant woman need? According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, pregnant and breast feeding mothers need 600 IU a day.

The obvious place to get Vitamin D is from the sun (and the even more obvious place is a supplement but don’t just rely on this). However, if, like me, you live in a cold, damp place you’ll be looking elsewhere to up your vitamin D uptake. Also, the darker your skin the less able your skin is to produce Vitamin D from the sun.

Which foods can I get Vitamin D from? The best source of Vitamin D in food comes from fatty fish, such as Salmon, Tuna, Sardines and Mackerel. You can also get it from cheese and egg yolks, and some foods are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, cereal, Orange Juice, etc.

Suggested recipes? Nicoise Salad, of course! Try this gorgeous looking Nicoise from Anthony Worral Thompson for size…

Courtesy of BBC.co.uk

You could think about maybe reducing the number of potatoes so you can increase the amount of egg for extra Vit D-ness. Equally, try switching around the fish as you can only eat Tuna a few times a month (try this article from Livestrong for a full breakdown of what you can have) and remember we can only have fish 2 times a week!

Eating Well also have a whole post with suggested recipes to increase your Vit D intake.

It is, of course, possible to have too much of a good thing and if you have too much Vitamin D, the symptoms are nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, and constipation (sound like the symptoms of anything else you know?!) but in order to do this you need to be having in excess of 4,000 IU per day, which is only really possible through over-dosing on your supplement.

 

Resources:

Dr Elina Hypponen, UCL, British Journal of Nutrition (2005)

Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D – Quick facts

BabyCenter – Vitamin D in your pregnancy diet

bbc.co.uk – Salad Nicoise

LIvestrong – How much tuna can you eat during pregnancy?

Eating Well – Recipes to get more Vitamin D