Pregnant mamas: make sure to get your D! As we move toward and through another Minnesota winter, it is good to be reminded of the importance of Vitamin D, not only for emotional health, but also for physical health. This article reported on a study of over 42,000 people which showed 13% increased risk for developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life if you were born in May vs. a 19% decreased risk if you were born in November--the researchers theorized that the difference in propensity to develop MS may be explained by differing levels of Vitamin D their mothers had while the study subjects were in utero. A major source of Vitamin D is simply exposure to sunlight, obviously something that is difficult to get in Minnesota in the winter. In addition to prenatal vitamin supplements, good nutritional sources of Vitamin D as reported in the article include oily fish, cheese, egg yolks and some kinds of mushrooms. I would add cod liver oil as a good source of Vitamin D. Today's cod liver oils are processed and flavored to remove the icky taste for which it was infamous in days gone by. I use the orange-flavored Nordic Naturals brand--something that has literally changed my life (that's another story). Yes, it is expensive, but you and your baby's health are worth it! I have a brochure about the benefits of cod liver oil for pregnancy and lactation which I would be happy to give to anyone at no cost--just call ahead and stop by our Family Center any afternoon between 2 and 5 pm--but as listed in brief here, some of the benefits of Vitamin D during pregnancy and lactation include:
Caution: To avoid the risk of hemorrhage, women who are taking blood thinners or have blood clotting disorders should not take cod liver oil unless advised to do so by your maternal health care provider.
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