Health Alert: Newborn Vitamin D deficiency

NATIONAL - During pregnancy, women do all they can to ensure a healthy baby. But a new study finds a large percentage of moms and babies are lacking one important vitamin.

Right now, the only thing on Mary Kathryn Kluesner's mind is her bottle. It's an extension of the nutrition her mom, Meghan, was mindful of from the beginning with prenatal vitamins. Meghan says, "As soon as I found out I was pregnant I went and took, bought those, and started taking them."

A healthful diet during pregnancy helps nurture a healthy baby. But a new study by the University of Pittsburgh identifies a nutritional gap. Dr. Lisa Bodnar says, "We found that there was a strikingly high percentage of Vitamin D deficiency in both the moms and their babies."

In this study, blood samples of 400 pregnant women and their newborns were tested. Dr. Lisa Bodnar says, "In the African-American women, about over 80 percent of these women were what is considered to be insufficient or deficient in Vitamin D. And in white women, the proportions were roughly 45 percent."

And that's with 90 percent of these moms-to-be taking prenatal vitamins.

Dr. Bodnar says, "A prenatal vitamin normally contains about 400 International Units of Vitamin D, so clearly was not enough to maintain adequate Vitamin D stores."

Being "D"-ficient puts babies at risk for skeletal disorders and more. Dr. Bodnar says, "They're more likely to have Type One diabetes. They may be possibly more likely to have schizophrenia when they get older."

While some foods, and even sun exposure, can help boost Vitamin D levels, Doctor Bodnar says supplements are the best way to ensure adequate "D" levels. Dr. Bodnar says, "Taking a thousand units could be the safest thing that a woman could do that could promote the health of her infant."

Doctor Bodnar recommends that you talk to your doctor about your Vitamin D needs. She also adds that Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem in the United States, regardless of race, gender or age.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle