Healthy living

Vitamin D for pregnant women and new mothers

Vitamin D is a very important vitamin for both mother and baby. You need to make sure your vitamin D levels are normal during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Low levels of vitamin D are common in pregnant women.

How will I know if I have low vitamin D?

A blood test may be done as part of your antenatal assessment at the hospital or through your local doctor.

If you have low vitamin D you will be advised to increase your sun exposure and take extra vitamin D during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The amount of extra vitamin D needed depends on how low in vitamin D you are. After treatment a follow up blood test will be taken (after 6 weeks) to make sure your vitamin D level is normal.

How often do I need to take vitamin D?

Because you use vitamin D every day, you should take vitamin D supplementation every day while pregnant and breastfeeding if your vitamin D level is low.

Vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue; this may affect the amount of vitamin D supplementation that you will need to take.

Can taking extra vitamin D harm my baby or me?

There is no evidence to show that taking supplements in the quantities advised will harm either you or your baby. But there is a lot of evidence to show that vitamin D deficient babies can develop serious medical conditions.

Does my baby need extra vitamin D?

If you are, or were, vitamin D deficient during your pregnancy you will need to continue to take vitamin D supplementation for another 3 to 6 months after your baby is born, especially while you are breastfeeding.

If your baby requires vitamin D supplementation you will need to discuss this with your doctor or midwife. Do not stop giving the vitamin D supplement to your baby until you have discussed this with your doctor.

Where to get help

Women and Newborn Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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