Weight 'impacts Vitamin D effectiveness during pregnancy'

31 October 2016 07:02

A study has shed light on the use of vitamin D tablets during pregnancy

A study has shed light on the use of vitamin D tablets during pregnancy

The time of year and a woman's weight gain can both influence the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements in pregnant females, new research has indicated.

The individual attributes of women can impact how they respond to these supplements, according to the study published by the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

If women deliver babies in the winter, gain more weight while they are pregnant and have low levels of the vitamin early on, the supplements tend to be less effective, it is thought.

The research, put together by the University of Southampton, suggests that vitamin D levels should be determined by individual risk factors in the future.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Nicholas Harvey, of the university's Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, said: "It is important for pregnant women to have sufficient levels of vitamin D for the health of their baby.

"Our study findings suggest that in order to optimise vitamin D concentrations through pregnancy, the supplemental dose given may need to be tailored to a woman's individual circumstances, such as the anticipated season of delivery."

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Vitamin D benefits

By taking vitamin D supplements, people aim to help their bodies absorb calcium more effectively. The vitamin can boost bone and muscle strength.

Although the vitamin is created in people's skin when they are exposed to bright sunlight, certain foods can also contain it.

Previous studies have warned that a shortage of vitamin D during a woman's pregnancy can impact their maternal health, foetal development and the child's long-term skeletal health.

Arthritis Research UK helped fund the latest study, with further funding support coming from the MRC, the National Institute for Health Research and the Bupa Foundation.

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