Not too long ago, vitamin D was one of the most underrated vitamins. That it comes free from the sun may be one of the reasons for this. This is why it is also called “the sunshine vitamin”. Interestingly, it is also one of the vitamins whose deficiency is common.
Many people especially in extreme latitudes do not get enough of this “free” but important vitamin during the winter months. That marketing of commercial sunscreens all but demonizes exposure to good old sunshine does not help matters.
Today, vitamin D supplements are becoming one of the most prescribed nutraceuticals.
Recent studies show why this vitamin should be of interest to mothers, and especially new mothers. Back to this in a moment.
The Role of Vitamin D in Your Child’s Health
Vitamin D is critical in building bones, including teeth. It is also essential for absorption of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a disease characterized by softening and distortion of bones that often results in bow leggedness.
Vitamin D May Reduce Miscarriage Risk
Women who don’t take in enough vitamin D may take longer to get pregnant and may have increased risk of miscarriage, one study indicates.
Researchers observed that women who had sufficient vitamin D levels of least 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or more were 10 percent more likely to get pregnant. They were also 15 per more likely to have a live birth. This is in comparison to those with lower vitamin levels.
Sufficient intake of vitamin D before conception was associated with lower risk of miscarriage, by 12 percent.
Vitamin D and Cholesterol in Children
In another research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, children with higher serum vitamin D levels were observed to have lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), bad cholesterol.
May Reduce Wheezing in Some Preterm Babies
In yet another study, researchers observed that vitamin D supplementation reduced recurrent wheezing in preterm black infants compared to infants that received vitamin D enriched feedings. This study in published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Prematurely-born African-American infants have an increased risk of recurrent wheezing, as well as risk of developing asthma later. Supplementing with 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D may reduce the chance of experiencing recurrent wheezing.
Getting Vitamin D
For moms, the best time to start taking vitamin D supplements would be before conception. Some experts assert that most women may already be deficient of the vitamin prior to pregnancy.
It may therefore be a good idea to begin supplementation before pregnancy, and to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. Supplements come in the form of vitamin D3. Flavored liquid or chewable supplements are available for children. Just ensure to pick one that it’s low in sugar. Breast milk does not supply adequate amounts of vitamin D to prevent rickets and other conditions associated with deficiency.
Consulting with a healthcare professional before starting on a new supplement cannot be overemphasized, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding.
 Nursing Care of Children – E-Book: Principles and Practice by Susan R. James, Kristine Nelson, Jean Ashwill