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Ask The Green Mama: Recommendations for Vitamin D supplementation for women & for pregnancy

I’m a doula that works with pregnant and postpartum women. I get a lot of questions about Vitamin D and I have started taking Vitamin D and notice how good it feels. What does your research say about Vitamin D supplementation?


This is perfect timing as I just finished writing on supplements, including Vitamin D, for the new Green Mama book on Pregnancy. (Look for it this Spring.)

These days vitamin D is considered a sort of wonder-vitamin helping with weight management, mood, and overall health. It is one of the few additional supplements that I take in addition to an organic, food-based multivitamin, cod liver oil, magnesium spray supplementation, and . (I have also been taking this baking soda remedy right now to stave off colds and help with a sluggish gallbladder.) Cod liver oil has very bio-available Vitamin D and Vitamin A and for many people I consider this enough Vitamin D. However, in the winter in Canada, I find a bit more is necessary for myself.

Vitamin D is particularly important for pregnant women. It helps build bones and develop the lungs of the growing baby. One study specifically looking at Vitamin D and pregnancy, found that women who took 4,000 IU of Vitamin D every day in their second and third trimesters showed no evidence of harm but had half the rate of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and preeclampsia as those that only took the recommended 400 IU.

Vitamin D comes from sunlight and fats from animals “fed” sunlight, either because they were allowed to graze outside or, in the sea, ate a lot of plankton or seaweed. These days, particularly in Canada, its nearly impossible to get enough Vitamin D from the sun and unless you eat a lot of cod liver oil, fatty fish, and lard, you probably don’t get enough from your diet alone. (Read a bit more about this in Eat Your Sunscreen) Mothers who are deficient are more likely to have baby’s that are deficient in Vitamin D, and this continues through the breastfeeding relationship.

African-American women were the most likely to be deficient, followed by Hispanic women, and then white women in the aforementioned pregnancy study. There is no mention of other darker skinned groups, but from what I know about sunlight requirements in darker skinned women—the darker, the more you need for Vitamin D—I’d assume deficiency and get tested.

If you are interested in the brands that I use, or want to Buy Now, one of these supplements, you can visit The Green Mama astore.* (Learn what an astore, or an Amazon affiliate store, in my terms & conditions.) Or, you can visit your favourite organic grocer, coop, or natural supplement shop where the staff will be able to answer many of your questions (remember, they are hired by the store and not the brand so they aren’t brand reps or drug reps and often can be quite informed on good supplements.)

I hope this helps get you through the long, dark winters.


This photo is by the talented landscape photographer Adoria Dover. To see more of her work or get one of her photos for yourself, visit her on Instagram.