Vitamin D is an important part of your diet, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It provides key nutrients for maintaining strong bones for mum and baby, with government guidelines of 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Awareness of the importance of folic acid during pregnancy is high, with 71% of mums knowing its importance*. However, less than 30% of mums are aware of the equal importance of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been highlighted by the government as a serious concern for babies, children and adults of all ages, thanks in part to the lack of sunshine in the UK - recent advice by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) suggests that UK winters do not provide us with enough sunshine to keep suitable vitamin D levels throughout the year.
The Nutrimum survey shows that mums are also unsure about the influence of other key vitamins and nutrients on their baby’s health and development. Half of respondents were unaware of the role of omega 3 (DHA) in baby’s brain and eye development, and only half of women (51.2%) recognised the need to increase iron intake, which supports normal blood formation and the normal function of the immune system.
Iodine recognition was extremely low at only 11.75%. Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy it contributes to babies’ brain development.
Almost a third believed that women should take vitamin A during pregnancy - but vitamin A can pose a potential health risk to unborn babies.
We get most of our vitamin D intake from the sunshine on our skin - although living in the UK means this is lacking for most of the year. Vitamin D can be found in some foods, such as:
- Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
- Fortified fat spreads
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Some powdered milks
The importance of taking supplements during pregnancy is well documented - read more about essential pregnancy supplements here - but if you are a bit forgetful and don’t want to take pills every day, Nutrimum cereals and cereal bars are a handy alternative, with one bar per day containing 100% RDI of folic acid and vitamin D during pregnancy and 100% RDI of vitamin D during breastfeeding, as well as other key nutrients such as iron, omega 3 (DHA) and iodine.
*According to Nutrimum's recent survey of 250 pregnant and breastfeeding women in the UK [August 2015]