The healthy development and growth of the body depend on a range of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, etc. The human body receives these nutrients and vitamins from a well-balanced diet. Sometimes, these nutrients are taken in the form of pregnancy supplements when the body doesn’t get enough of them. The body can experience micro-nutritional deficiencies in several ways, which can result in impaired growth, especially during pregnancy when a new life is being formed.

An imbalanced diet is a major reason for nutritional deficiencies. A large portion of the Indian population doesn’t consume a well-balanced diet. The diet here is primarily rich in carbohydrates but it lacks various micronutrients which are essential during pregnancy and otherwise. That’s why, Indian diet must be enriched with a variety of minerals, proteins, and vitamins.

Vitamin D is one of the most essential pregnancy vitamins which is required for the normal growth and development of the baby. This vitamin is also known as ‘sunshine’ vitamin and provides countless benefits including bone, brain, immune system cardiovascular, metabolic, and respiratory health. It’s a fact that its balanced consumption during pregnancy can prevent chances of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, birth length, low birth weight, head circumference, infections, etc.

Vitamin D helps in preventing several complications during pregnancy like blood sugar balance, Caesarean section (C-section), and blood pressure. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is needed in Phosphate and Calcium absorption in the body. It further supports the growth of the baby’s teeth, kidneys, nervous system, bones, and heart. The human body endogenously produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight however it is also found in some foods (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items).

Vitamin D is categorised into two different forms:

  1. D2 (Ergocalciferol)
  2. D3 (Cholecalciferol)

Ergocalciferol is produced by plants and cholecalciferol is produced by humans and animals.

What are the advantages of consuming Vitamin D during pregnancy?

Earlier, people were mostly dependent on sunlight for Vitamin D intake. With more knowledge and change in lifestyle, the scenario has been drastically changed. A pregnant woman requires Vitamin D during pregnancy more than what she does during her normal days of life. The mother-to-be has to ensure that she is getting enough amount of Vitamin D through her diet.

The human skin produces Vitamin D which later undergoes hydroxylation. This oxidation reaction takes place in the liver where it is converted into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D). Before reaching to physiologically active form i.e., 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, it also undergoes hydroxylation in the kidney. The active form supports Calcium absorption, thus leading to bone mineralization which further aids to growth.

 

Parathyroid hormone and Vitamin D play a major role in bone mineralisation and Calcium homeostasis. This vitamin facilitates the flow of Calcium from the blood to the bones. Our body directly synthesises Vitamin D from the sunlight through the skin in the form of pre-vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is processed from supplements and diet.

Importance of Vitamin D for the babies 

Vitamin D is involved in various developmental functions in the foetus such as

  • It is important for the formation of tooth enamel.
  • It is important for the skeletal development of the foetus.
  • It supports healthy bone development.
  • It may also avoid preterm birth.

Importance of Vitamin D for the pregnant mothers 

A balanced amount of Vitamin D in the maternal diet can do wonders.

  • Vitamin D can lower the risks of preeclampsia.
  • Vitamin D can lower the chances of gestational diabetes.
  • Vitamin D can lower the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester.
  • Vitamin D is important for maternal bone health.

What if a pregnant woman has Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy?

The deficiency of any micronutrient is largely dependent on the diet. There are several factors which can lead to the deficiency of Vitamin D during pregnancy, including both physical and lifestyle. If a pregnant woman is on specific types of medications such as antiseizures, diuretics, cholesterol-reducing, etc. the absorption of Vitamin D can be inhibited. Also, obesity can be another reason. Darker skin which has lots of melanin can also inhibit Vitamin D production.

Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) can lead to poor bone development. Further, it can cause rickets. Preeclampsia is a life-challenging complication that can arise during pregnancy. There are chances of preeclampsia if the mother-to-be faces Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy. From supporting fertility to a healthy pregnancy, the role of Vitamin D can’t be ignored.

Deficiency of Vitamin D is associated with the following conditions:

  • Small for gestational age (SAG)
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Tissue-specific conditions

Since not many food items are packed with a high concentration of Vitamin D, consumption through diet can fulfil around 10% of requirements only. That’s why the intake of Vitamin D via prenatal supplements is highly required. Some prominent factors that multiply the risk of Vitamin D deficiency are limited exposure to sun because of indoor lifestyle, darker skin pigmentation, dietary choices, sunscreen use, geographical location, time of year, and insufficient Vitamin D3 supplementation.

When should a pregnant woman take a Vitamin D supplement?

For every pregnant mother or those who are trying to conceive, Vitamin D is recommended both in the form of diet and via pregnancy multivitamins. Vitamin D is essentially required in a lot of developmental phases (as discussed above) and its deficiency can lead to unhealthy pregnancy outcomes.

A pregnant woman should start consuming Vitamin D from her first trimester and should continue throughout the pregnancy. A balanced amount of Vitamin D will provide health benefits to both the mother and the growing baby. It’s better to consult a doctor to understand the nutritional gap before taking the supplement.

How much Vitamin D is a pregnant woman required to supplement?

As per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a pregnant woman should consume 400 IU (International unit) of Vitamin D every day.

Excess of Vitamin D in the body can lead to toxicity. If a woman doesn’t show a lot of deficiency, a small amount can supplement. However, if the pregnant woman has a lot of deficiency, she should be given 600000 IU in a specific time period. It’s best to give 60000 IU on a biweekly basis, depending on the baseline levels. However, once the limit of 600000 IU is reached, it has to be stopped. After this, the daily consumption should be 400 IU.

Can a pregnant woman take an international prenatal pill during pregnancy?

There is often a misconception regarding the pregnancy supplements that taking international prenatal pills can provide all the nutrition an Indian pregnant woman requires. However, this isn’t always true. The amount of Vitamin D a pregnant woman in the UK or the US requires differs from the amount of Vitamin D an Indian pregnant woman requires. One of the biggest reasons is that we are dark-skinned people.

Thus, taking international prenatal multivitamins is not always that much beneficial. Also, a pregnant woman may be required to take extra pregnancy pills to balance the dosage amount of international prenatal tablets. Extra pills during pregnancy can lead to gastrointestinal troubles.

How can a pregnant woman increase Vitamin D intake through diet?

It is no less than a challenge to extract Vitamin D from naturally found food items. Thus, a vegetarian pregnant woman can have great difficulty if not supplemented from outside. Many of pregnancy foods are fortified with Vitamin D to supply the vitamin. Milk is a good source, however; it is also recommended to get Vitamin D from pregnancy supplements.

Some of the most common sources of Vitamin D are listed below:

  • Sunshine
  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals

 

Which is the best Vitamin D supplement available for Indian pregnant women?

From keeping the track of dietary intake to choosing the right pregnancy supplement, a pregnant woman keeps several balls in the air. Though there are several pregnancy multivitamins available in various forms like capsules gummies, tablets, etc. but not all of them are meant for everyone. An Indian pregnant woman requires a prenatal supplement which can satisfy her nutritional requirements and doesn’t impose any health risks on her as well as her growing baby.

TrimacareTM by PlusPlus Lifesciences is India’s most advanced prenatal supplement which is designed and formulated by a team of doctors, pharmacologists, and nutritionists following the guidelines of WHO and ICMR. TrimacareTM comes in 3 different packs for each trimester, as the pregnancy needs are unique in each trimester, and it provides all the 20+ nutrients required by a pregnant woman and her child holistically and to supplement the needs perfectly.

Following the guidelines of ICMR, all the three packs of TrimacareTM i.e., TrimacareTM 1 (pregnancy multivitamins for the first trimester of pregnancy), TrimacareTM 2 (pregnancy multivitamins for the second trimester of pregnancy), and TrimacareTM 3 (pregnancy multivitamins for the third trimester of pregnancy) contain 400 IU of Vitamin D. These continue to provide 100 % RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) of Vitamin D to fulfil any gap in the diet. TrimacareTM uses Vitamin D as Vitamin D2 in the form of ergocalciferol.

TrimacareTM is good for the mother and good for the baby. It can be introduced at any stage of pregnancy. It is a one stop solution which supplements all the micronutrient needs of pregnancy. Hence, there is no need to take multiple pills every day for different nutrients. It is made with natural, plant-based ingredients thus it is safe and chemical-free.

TrimacareTM is recommended by leading doctors of India. This pregnancy supplement is available both online (Amazon1mgFlipkart) and offline at your nearest chemist.