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Vitamin D’s influence on pain in labour

Vitamin D’s influence on pain in labour

If you’ve ever been heavily pregnant in summer, you will know how hard it can be to move around in sweltering heat, carrying an extra kilo (or 5, or 10!) However, there may be a good reason to get out in the sun for a short spell each day if you’re expecting: Vitamin D.

Known as the, sunshine vitamin ‘, vitamin D is produced inside the body through exposure to UV light. “Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract as well as the hardening of the bone. It has an influence on muscle strength, regulates calcium and phosphate metabolism and is also involved in other metabolic processes in the body “(Source: http://www.bfr.bund.de/de/ausgewaehlte_fragen_und_antworten_zu_vitamin_d-131898.html).

If there wasn’t enough excuse to take a break from your long to-do list and sun yourself, it’s good to know that a low level of vitamin D may mean more pain in labour (and nobody wants that!)

These were the findings of a study carried out by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2014. The vitamin D levels of 93 pregnant women were measured prior to delivery. All 93 women requested an epidural during the birth, during which the levels of pain medication consumed were measured. Vitamin D levels were plotted against pain medication levels and there appeared to be a strong correlation between lower vitamin D levels and higher levels of pain medication.

Of course this was only a small study but it indicates what experts have suspected for some time: That vitamin D levels and pain (as well as depression) are linked.

Thank goodness that it’s easy to increase your vitamin D levels! Here’s what you can do:

  • Go out and enjoy the sun for a short period each day (remember though, that sunscreen blocks the sun’s rays!)- If it’s too warm for you, vitamin D production can also be boosted in slight shade,
  • Eat some cereal, drink some orange juice fortified with vitamin D (check the labels for info), eat some fatty fish like salmon and mushrooms, some cheeses, fats, oils and egg yolks are also a good source of vitamin D,
  • Take some cod liver oil or vitamin D supplements,
  • Take your prenatal vitamins.

As a general rule, the vitamin D produced in your body is the most beneficial but you can support this with good nutrition. Any supplements should get the all-clear from your midwife or doctor first!

Enjoy the sun and here’s to a less painful birth!

1 Comment
  1. Ich finde es wirklich klasse, dass Sie sich all diese Mühe machen und die Informationen aufbereitet für uns präsentieren. Danke dafür.
    Lg Danny

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