Baby Your Baby: Importance of Vitamin D during pregnancy

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Baby Your Baby: Importance of Vitamin D during pregnancy (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably heard how important it is to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. However, women should also consider taking Vitamin D.

“There is an epidemic of deficiency and it is causing effects,” says Thayne Sweeten, Ph.D – Director of the Immunogenetics Lab at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Studies show 60-70 percent of Utahns are deficient in Vitamin D, and many people do not know because there are no real signs unless you go in and get a blood test. Vitamin D functions as an active hormone in the body and does much more than strengthen bones.

“One of its primary purposes is as an anti-inflammatory which helps suppress and regulate the immune system,” says Matthew Wappett, Ph.D – Executive Director of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Ongoing research out of Utah State University shows, there might be a connection between Vitamin D, the immune system, and autism.

“We’ve seen high correlations between autoimmune disorders and autism,” says Wappett.

“Multiple studies, at least 15, have found Vitamin D levels low in kids with autism,” says Sweeten.

Utah State’s latest study shows Vitamin D deficiency in a child might actually begin during pregnancy, before the child is even born.

“There have been studies that show that mothers who are low in Vitamin D are more likely, about twice as likely, to have a child with autism,” says Sweeten.

Because of this, pregnant women are encouraged to test and correct low-levels as soon as possible.

“It’s really important as women are considering becoming pregnant or when they realize that they are pregnant that they get their Vitamin D levels checked,” says Wappett.

If your levels are low, the good news is, it is very easy to treat. The easiest way is just a Vitamin D supplement from the store. It’s a very simple and cheap supplement to go and buy.

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