Posts Tagged ‘vitamin d deficiency’

Vitamin D Deficiency May Boost C-Section Risk

This little article on WebMD immediately caught my attention, because I had a C-Section, and I didn’t want one.

I was the woman who planned a full-on natural childbirth. I was the woman who fought my ob when she wanted to induce my labor because of borderline high blood pressure and borderline gestational diabetes. I knew it would increase the risk of c-section. I was the woman who did about ten hours of induced labor without pain meds (they catheterized me and broke my water, too! Ouch!), hoping my baby would agree to come out the old fashioned way.

I was the woman who couldn’t have a c-section fast enough when labor was becoming too hard on my baby, and we needed to get her out. Right away.

I am also the woman who — should she ever be blessed with another pregnancy — hopes to have a vaginal birth after a c-section.

I’m so thankful for my c-section. I’m so thankful my baby was born strong and healthy. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little wistful, sometimes, that I didn’t share an experience my mother had (four times), and her mother before her (six times), and so on.

So. Vitamin D, huh? Hmmm….

My baby and me just after our c-section. I’m swollen, but over the moon!
Here’s what the WebMD article says, quoting a vitamin D researcher (Vitamin D researcher? We didn’t have one of those at my high school career day!)

Vitamin D researcher Michael Holick, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Boston Medical Center report that women in their study who were severely vitamin D deficient during childbirth were about four times more likely to deliver by cesarean section as women with higher vitamin D levels.

and…

“We are just beginning to recognize that a large percentage of pregnant women are vitamin D deficient and that being on a prenatal vitamin is totally inadequate to bring levels up to where they need to be,” Holick tells WebMD.

There are many ways to increase your vitamin D intake. You could try cod liver oil as your fish oil supplement. Researchers say it can increase your baby’s IQ, like other fish oil supplements, but it has the added benefit of high levels of vitamin D. Nordic Naturals CLO is purified (no, I’m not on their payroll!). It says it tastes good, but I’ve found the texture of CLO kind of nasty. If you hate it, try mixing it in a smoothie! I sneak all kinds of healthy things into my daughter’s morning smoothie.

By the way, research has shown that taking cod liver oil during pregnancy may also reduce your child’s risk of Type 1 (insulin dependant) Diabetes.

The National Institutes of Health has a list of good sources of Vitamin D:

Cod liver oil
Salmon, cooked
Mackerel, cooked
Tuna fish, canned in oil
Sardines, canned in oil
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified
Margarine, fortified
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D
Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in yolk)
Liver, beef, cooked
Cheese, Swiss

For the suggested portion sizes for the above listed foods, and much more info on Vitamin D, visit the NIH page on the topic here.

You could also take a Vitamin D supplement along with your prenatal vitamin. Dr. Holick suggests additional 1,000 IU of the vitamin. IU stands for International Units, and will be listed on the bottle.

Now, this article makes clear that more research needs to be done before any kind of official recommendation might be made with regard to Vitamin D and pregnancy, but since research also suggests that many pregnant women are vitamin D deficient, it couldn’t hurt to have an extra egg or two every now and then!

If I get pregnant again, I will. Bring on the VBAC!

Please check out our free podcasts for much more on cesarean sections and vaginal births after a c-section.

-Bonnie