A new study published this week finds that when moms get enough vitamin D during pregnancy, their babies score higher on developmental tests.
Researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona studied 1,820 mothers and their babies and found that babies of moms who had optimal levels of vitamin D during pregnancy scored slightly higher than babies of moms who were vitamin D deficient. The study was published September 17 in the journal Pediatrics.
While experts say that this shouldn't cause alarm for healthy women, this study could "open the door" for "advocating a stronger stance on vitamin D recommendations for pregnancy and pre-pregnancy," Valencia Walker, MD, a neonatologist at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, told WebMD. She was not involved in the study.
While clinical recommendations for vitamin D are unclear, researcher Eva Morales, MD, PhD, MPH, notes that trials are underway to make determinations.
Meanwhile, Walker told WebMD that women may face a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency if they are overweight or obese, have darker skin, or live in northern locations, especially during wintertime. Prenatal vitamins often provide 400 IU of vitamin D, but WebMD adds that there is not enough research yet to conclude that supplementing with more vitamin D would be beneficial.
According to BabyCenter.com, the National Academy of Sciences currently recommends 200 IUs of vitamin D every day if you're not exposed to a lot of sunlight, but many experts believe this isn't enough. Access BabyCenter for tips on food sources packed with vitamin D, such as fatty fish and fortified milk: http://www.babycenter.com/0_vitamin-d-in-your-pregnancy-diet_661.bc.