Vitamin D pre-pregnancy: is it the new folic acid?

Weekly pregnancy tip



8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

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When women start thinking about getting pregnant, they are routinely advised to start taking a prenatal with folic acid in it, to ensure they have adequate stores to reduce the chance of neural tube defects in the first trimester.

A study that came out this week shows that there is strong evidence to support adding Vitamin D to the pre-pregnancy supplement routine (and not just during the winter): decreasing the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in pregnancy. Vitamin D plays an important role in both insulin synthesis and insulin sensitivity, and supplementing with Vitamin D pre-pregnancy reduces the risk of developing GDM in pregnancy. Interestingly, simply increasing dietary consumption of foods high in Vitamin D did not have the same effect.

In a previous weekly tip I referred to the additional link between Vitamin D status and preventing childhood asthma, and a study earlier this summer also linked Vitamin-D deficiency with pre-term births.

While Vitamin D has received widespread attention, checking your levels is largely a “user-pay” test – public health care in British Columbia, for example, only covers Vitamin-D testing if the patient is less than 19 years old or if the test is ordered by a specialist. If you are ordering the test privately through a Naturopathic Doctor or Medical Doctor, testing the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D should cost about $60, while testing 1,25-OH Vitamin D (the active form) should cost about $95.

As I talked about in an earlier post, if you are looking to supplement with Vitamin D in your pregnancy, the safe range of Vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy has been established as between 600IU and 4,000IU per day. Supplementing at this level can be done with or without a laboratory-verified Vitamin D deficiency.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your pregnant patients, please get in touch with us at

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.


Al-Shoumer, K & Al-Essa, T. (2015). Is there a relationship between vitamin D with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus? World Journal of Diabetes, 6(8): 1057–1064.

Bao, W. et al. (2017). Pre-pregnancy habitual intake of vitamin D from diet and supplements in relation to risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Diabetes. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1753-0407.12611.

Baczyńska-Strzecha, M. et al. (2017). Assessment of correlation between vitamin D level and prevalence of preterm births in the population of pregnant women in Poland. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 30(6): 933–941.

BC Guidelines. (2013). Vitamin D Testing Protocol. BC Government. Retrieved from:

Hollis, B. (2011). Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: double-blind, randomized clinical trial of safety and effectiveness. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 26(12).

Holmes, V. (2009). Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in pregnant women: a longitudinal study. British Journal of Nutrition, 102: 876-881.

National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (n.d.) Dietary Supplement Professional Fact Sheet. Retrieved from

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

it's free!
Protecting your personal information is of utmost importance to me