Are you trying to conceive but feeling discouraged because of a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency? Don’t give up; there is still hope! Many women have successfully gotten pregnant, despite their deficiency. In this article, we’ll explore how a vitamin D deficiency can affect your ability to conceive and what you can do to optimize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
1. The Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency & Fertility
Vitamin D deficiency can have a serious impact on fertility, whether you’re trying to conceive naturally, or with the help of medical assistance. Research now shows that adequate vitamin D levels are essential for overall health, and for successful pregnancy.
The body produces vitamin D in response to exposure from the sun, which is why so many pregnant women are cautious about sunlight and opt for natural alternatives. Unfortunately, many people living in the UK and northern Europe suffer from too little sun exposure, leading to a vitamin D deficiency.
The consequences for fertility can be significant, as vitamin D is essential for healthy hormone levels in both men and women. In women, low levels of vitamin D adversely affect the production of progesterone, which is responsible for the regular supply of eggs.
Other key factors that might be affected by a vitamin D deficiency are:
- The ability of the egg to implant into the uterus
- The response of the immune system to foreign substances
- The release of egg follicles
- The production of blood vessels and healthy cushioning in the uterus
Vitamin D supplements are widely available, and should be taken as part of your daily health regimen if you’re trying to conceive. Speak to your doctor about the best dosage for you.
2. What To Do If Vitamin D Levels Are Low
Document Your Medical History
Before you treat a lower-than-optimum vitamin D level, it’s important to make sure there are no underlying medical issues at play. To rule this out, visit your primary care provider for an assessment. Be sure to discuss any relevant medical history, supplements you take, and any recent changes in diet, exercise or medication. This will help your doctor diagnose any potential causes of the deficiency.
You can ask your doctor to provide you with a Vitamin D blood test to accurately measure the level of Vitamin D. This test is the most efficient way to determine if you are deficient. However, if you cannot access the test for any reason, a qualified nutritionist or registered dietician can offer you a Vitamin D Food Frequency Questionnaire. This questionnaire will assess your overall diet and lifestyle and help determine if you’re Vitamin D deficient.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
To improve Vitamin D levels, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential. It’s important to eat foods that are high in Vitamin D, like egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and foods fortified with Vitamin D such as cereal and dairy products. Additionally, enrolling in a food logging program and working with a nutritionist or dietician can be a great way to establish a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
Supplements may be necessary if your regular diet and lifestyle cannot support a Vitamin D intake. Before taking a supplement, consult a healthcare professional for their recommended dosage. Typically, most adults will start with 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) once a day, and gradually build up to around 10,000 IU per day. Here’s a list of supplements you may consider taking:
- Liquid Vitamin D
- Vitamin D Sprays
- Vitamin D Drops
- Vitamin D Tablets
When taken in the right dosages, supplements can help bring levels back to normal. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re taking supplements as they may interact with medications you may already be on.
3. Outcomes & Risks of Pregnancy After Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy. It can lead to various problems if left untreated, including increased risk of gestational diabetes, kidney problems, and preeclampsia. Vitamin D is important for growth and development of the baby, so it’s essential for pregnant women to get enough of it during their pregnancy.
- Adequate levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy can help prevent various types of birth defects and complications.
- Vitamin D helps to strengthen the protective cover of bones and teeth in the baby.
- It also facilitates calcium absorption in the body, which is essential for proper fetal growth.
- Low Vitamin D can lead to preeclampsia, a serious condition during pregnancy.
- It also increases the risk of Gestational Diabetes.
- It can impair renal function.
- Vitamin D can result in delayed cognitive abilities, which usually appear in the form of learning disabilities.
Vitamin D deficiency can be dangerous for the health of both the mother and the baby. It’s important to recognize the signs and make sure to get enough of it during pregnancy.
4. Ways to Increase Vitamin D Levels
You’ve probably heard of vitamin D and its importance in your diet, but did you know that too little of this important vitamin can have some serious health risks? Here are some sure-fire ways to increase your vitamin D levels:
1. Make the Most of Your Sunshine Time
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that your body can make from sunlight exposure. To get the right amount of vitamin D, aim to spend some time in the sun, without sunscreen, every day. A good idea is to enjoy the sunny weather at a park or beach – if you can’t get out, take a break from your workday and sit in the sun for a few minutes. Exposing your arms and legs, uncovered by clothing, is key to getting all the vitamin D you need!
2. Drink Fortified Milk and Orange Juice
Upping your milk and orange juice intake could also help you with your vitamin D levels. Most brands of milk have been fortified with vitamin D and some orange juices also have been fortified with the sunshine vitamin. Start the morning off with a tall glass of vitamin D fortified juice or milk to get just the right amount of your vitamin D needs.
3. Look for Foods Rich in Vitamin D
If you’re looking for some food-based sources for your vitamin D needs, what you should reach for are:
- Salmon – it’s rich in vitamin D and also omega-3 fatty acids.
- Tuna – it’s a fish rich in vitamin D and proteins.
- Egg Yolks – these are a great source of vitamin D.
4. Strengthen Your Vitamin D Intake with Supplements
If you’re having trouble maintaining your vitamin D levels through diet or sun exposure, supplement your diet with vitamin D. Speak to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements and decide on the right dose for you.
5. Taking Care of Yourself & Baby Pre- and Post-conception
Having a healthy pregnancy starts with taking care of yourself even before conception and continues well after the birth of your baby. Here are five tips to promote a healthy family lifestyle.
The birth of a child is a happy and exciting time, but preparing for it takes both effort and dedication. As part of the process, it’s important to take steps to optimize your health both pre- and post-conception.
- Take a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Prioritize sleep and relaxation. Pregnancy is exhausting and overwhelming. Make sure to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, and don’t hesitate to factor in some self-care and relaxation.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Substances like these can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
- Stay active and eat healthily. These practices enable your body to better support the baby during development.
It’s also important to stay on top of your post-partum recovery. Make sure to get adequate rest and attend regular doctor’s visits. If breast-feeding, ask your healthcare provider for advice about proper nutrition. Finally, try to keep stress levels in check and prioritize relaxation, especially in the early months.
6. Benefits of Early Detection & Treatment
Early detection and treatment lead to better treatment outcomes in many cases. Early diagnosis is often associated with better treatment outcomes. Patients who receive early detection and treatment of a condition are often able to manage it more successfully than those who wait too long.
Detecting a medical condition early often leads to a shorter treatment course by allowing for earlier interventions. Treatments can be tailored to the individual based on the diagnosis, which can lead to fewer complications. Furthermore, early detection and treatment can provide the patient with greater peace of mind and empower them to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Reduction of health risks is also a key benefit of early detection and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to identify and address potential health risks before they become full-fledged medical problems. This allows for better management of health issues both in the current moment and in the future.
Finally, speaking from a financial perspective, early detection and treatment are usually less costly than late detection and treatment. Not only do treatment costs lessen when medical conditions are identified earlier, but there is also the potential for saving costs on medication, medical appointments, and other resources needed for treatment.
- Easier to manage condition
- Shorter treatment course
- Reduction of health risks
- Less financial cost
7. Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy After Resolving Vitamin D Deficiency
When it comes to a healthy pregnancy, making sure you have resolved any vitamin D deficiencies before trying to conceive is essential. Vitamin D is important for the proper development of bones and teeth for your growing baby, helping to ensure they are strong and healthy. Here are 7 steps to take to get your body prepped for a healthy pregnancy:
1. Keep An Eye On Vitamin D Levels
- Visit your doctor for periodic blood tests to ensure your vitamin D levels remain within the optimal range before and during your pregnancy
- Your doctor can provide insight into when it’s time to get tested and if any supplementation is needed to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D
2. Get Enough Sunshine
- Spend time in the sun each day, as vitamin D is created by your body when exposed to sunlight
- Set aside at least 15 minutes each day and outdoors or by a window that gets good natural light exposure
3. Try Some Vitamin D Supplements
- Your doctor may recommend taking a daily vitamin D supplement to maintain a healthy level
- Some trusted brands are Garden of Life, Naturelo, One Daily, and Nature Made
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin D, such as cod liver oil, salmon, egg yolks, and beef liver
- Ensure the foods you’re eating during pregnancy are nutrient-dense, which will help your body get the vital vitamins and minerals it needs
This article has shown how important it is to discuss any vitamin d deficiency with your doctor before trying to become pregnant. Once the deficit has been identified and treated, you can feel confident that you have the best chance of becoming and staying pregnant without interruption. Pregnancy can be an exciting and rewarding journey that you can experience with the right steps in place.