I would have given an arm and a leg for this information, just four years ago. It might have made a difference in my labour room experience. Perhaps instead of talking about the pain of childbirth, a vaginal tear and other experiences, I would have been telling you about how nice it was, and encouraging people to try vaginal child birth.
Now, you are most likely wondering what piece of information I’m talking about. A few days ago, I was at my usual quiet spot, doing some writing and a bit of reflection, when I looked up and beheld the sight of my pregnant neighbour, it was quite a sunny day, even though it was still morning, and I was asking her where she was going without an umbrella, and stress all over her face.
She was about to answer, when one of the Gynaecologists at her antenatal clinic, which is quite close to my quiet spot, answered from behind her, “She is getting her dose of Vitamin D for the day. She needs this, especially as she is likely to give birth any day.”
After saying that, he stopped to exchange pleasantries with us. He is a doctor I’ve known for a while…in fact, the one who helped deliver my second set of twins. That was when I asked him, what the sun and vitamin D have to do with childbirth. He was surprised that I did not know that it had been proven that when a pregnant woman has sufficient vitamin D in her system at the time of giving birth, she is less likely to experience so much pain, especially when compared with a woman whose levels were low.
To say I was surprised is an understatement! I asked him why he did not pass along that information when I was pregnant with my twins. I was about to say more, when he quickly excused himself and left. Smart move on his part, because he would not have won the argument anyway, as my neighbour was also about to lay into him, as she only got to know about the benefit of Vitamin D to a pregnant woman, at the same time, I was finding out.
She said if she had known, she would have changed the time of her daily walks to morning, instead of the later in the evening that she was used to, because she was running away from the sun. Knowledge is power indeed! Imagine running away from something that could help you.
Trust me to dig up some fact about it. How can a mere vitamin ease the pain of giving birth to a human being? I was intrigued, and what I found out makes want to share with you, especially our pregnant moms. Call it the magic vitamin, because this same vitamin is a conception booster as you can find here, and can aid in the development of the foetus. For it to now make it easier to birth a child; my sisters, this vitamin just made itself very relevant in my life as a woman.
And there is a research to back up what that doctor said, a new study released by the American Society of Anesthesiologists said pregnant women with low levels of Vitamin D experienced more painful labour pains. The researchers studied 93 women during childbirth. All of whom requested epidurals, but those who tested to having a Vitamin D deficiency prior to delivery, consumed higher levels of pain medication while pushing than those whose Vitamin D levels were on the high side.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Andrew Geller noted that “prevention and treatment of low Vitamin D levels in pregnant women may have a significant impact on decreasing labor pain in millions of women every year.” Cheering news, if you ask me.
This vitamin works by activating pain blocking pathways in the body, at times, when the body’s ability to suppress pain decreases. Count child birth as one of those times, when the vitamin D reserve in the body kicks in helping to block pain that would otherwise have ravaged one’s body.
The not-so-nice part is where it was discovered that most women are deficient in vitamin D, even the moms-to-be that need it the most. The study revealed that 82 percent of moms-to-be had lower-than-desired levels. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists puts vegetarians, those with limited exposure to the sun, and women with darker skin tones at even higher of a risk. Doctors say that Vitamin D is vital to a woman’s health, to the extent that a newborn’s Vitamin D status directly reflects that of the mother, and low levels while expecting are associated with an increased risk of preterm labor, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and infections during pregnancy. Do you now see more reason to indulge in having Vitamin D in our meals, and even enjoying our abundance of morning sunshine?
Signs that you’re not getting enough are generally subtle and mirror normal pregnancy concerns, like sluggishness and bone pain, but if you are concerned, your doctor can be of help.
Now, before you add this to the already long list of things to worry about, you can get your levels within the normal range in the following ways:
Enjoy the morning sun… in moderation
As you know, too much of a good thing is not good, and I don’t want to be accused of causing some of our fair sisters to grow dark. Enjoy some outdoor activities; we already do that anyway, but some of us do not get any, which is not so good, as we have found out that vitamin D helps us in so many ways, from conception to child birth.
Eat your Vitamin D fortified cereal and milk
Now, if you are not one for the sun, you can get your daily dose from your favourite cereal and milk, as long as they are fortified with the vitamin.
Take vitamin D oil
That’s if you can tolerate the taste, and the after taste. I remember one time I bought a bottle of the oil for my kids. Let’s just say I had to find another use for it, because none of them accepted it again after the first day and I could not take it myself…so cod liver oil capsules came to the rescue.
Take prenatal and pregnancy vitamins
These vitamins are packed with different vitamins, Vitamin D included, so, you might want to pay closer attention to how you take them. No more skipping them for days or, if you are like me, weeks at time, before you remember to take them again. This definitely won’t do!
Baby dust to you all!
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