It has been a while since we have had some information on one of our most popular topics, vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.” A new study out of Australia has shown that there is a connection between low vitamin D levels and gestational diabetes. Vitamin D is one of the important vitamins during pregnancy; researchers recommend that a pregnant woman should regularly get tested for vitamin D deficiency.
The study involved 147 women at Westmead Hospital’s gestational diabetes clinic. More than 40% of the women had lower than average vitamin D levels at the start of the study. The research was led by Dr. Sue Lynn Lau and Dr. Jenny Gunton from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, with Dr. Neil Athayde and Professor Wah Cheung from Westmead Hospital. The researchers noticed that the women with the worst blood sugar control were also those with the lowest vitamin D levels. The findings are published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Gestational diabetes carries a whole list of complications including premature labor and birth, blindness, increased risk of both mother and baby developing type 1 or 2 diabetes within 10 years, and a very large birth weight baby (over 12 pounds). Low vitamin D levels can also cause the newborn to have weak bones, which can be broken more easily by a fall during childhood and adulthood.
If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about supplementing with vitamin D3. I am 32 weeks pregnant and I take 2000IU per day. It is also something you would want to continue after your baby is born. If you choose to nurse, you will also need to give your infant vitamin D, as well.