According to a new University of South Carolina study, pregnant women who take vitamin D supplements can safely lower their risk of infection and preterm labor and can improve the bone health and immune function of their child.
For the study, lead author Carol Wagner and her colleagues looked to determine the optimal dose of vitamin D supplements for expectant women. They recruited 494 pregnant women at 12-16 weeks gestation and assigned them to take 400, 2,000 or 4,000 International Units (IU) of the nutrient each day until delivery.
The research team then analyzed the affects that vitamin D had on the incidences of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections and preterm labor and birth.
"No adverse events related to vitamin D dosing were found in any of the three arms of the study," said Wagner. "The spectacular part was it showed women replete in vitamin D had lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth and lower rates of infection."
After analyzing each patient group, the researcher concluded that women who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D each day received the greatest benefit.