(RxWiki News) Expecting the best outcome when pregnant involves taking great care of yourself. An area women need to focus on is vitamin D levels, which enable healthy bone development for your unborn child.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) has released a recommendation that most expecting women can receive adequate vitamin D levels with healthy diet, sun exposure and prenatal vitamins, so they only advise testing vitamin D levels for at risk pregnant women.
"Pregnant women: Get out in the sun during morning hours to insure vitamin D levels."
George A. Macones, M.D., chair of The College's Committee on Obstetric Practice observes that recent data suggests that pregnant women often are vitamin D deficient, especially those with little sun exposure, vegetarians and dark-skinned women.
There has been a proposal on the table to screen all pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency, but the problem is, there is no real consensus as to what the recommended level of vitamin D is during pregnancy. Additionally, it isn't known what the upper limit should be. In short, no optimum range has been established.
Dr. Macones says that The College recommends that the above mentioned at risk women should be tested for vitamin D deficiency.
Most experts from The College agree that 1,000-2,000 IU a day vitamin D supplement is safe for those who are found deficient in vitamin D. Nothing higher than that has been studied.
Great diet ideas include adding vitamin D fortified milk and juice to your diet, prenatal vitamins, fish and fish oils.
Current randomized clinical trials are in progress trying to attain the optimum level of vitamin D recommended for pregnant women. Until new results are out, most pregnant women will be able to get adequate vitamin D through sun exposure and possibly prenatal vitamins suggests Dr. Macones.
This opinion will be published in the July, 2011 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.