Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy

Every day we take our prenatal vitamins to ensure our babies are getting all the nutrients they need. However, more than 80% of pregnant women are still deficient in Vitamin D, which benefits the body in many ways including disease prevention and proper growth. Who’s at risk for this deficiency? How do you know if you’re deficient and what can you do to boost your levels?

View Episode Transcript

Preggie Pals
“Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy”
Episode 13, July 23rd, 2012

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]
Carole Baggerly : 80% of pregnant women are vitamin D deficient and that guarantees that every single one of those infants born are also going to be deficient leading to lifelong problems with many diseases. I am Carole Baggerly with GrassRootsHealth and we are here today to talk about what to do about this both educationally and practically to get peoples vitamin D levels to a point in which they will be healthy. This is Preggie Pals, Episode 13.
[Theme Music/Intro]
Sunny Gault : Welcome to Preggie Pal,s broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host Sunny Gault. You can now take Preggie Pals with you wherever you go. Our apps are now available in the Amazon Android market and the iTunes apps store. They have great features like the ability to start your favorite episode as well as instant access to our most recent episodes and social networking sites. And another great way to get pregnancy related information is to subscribe to our Preggie Pals newsletter which features exclusive behind the scenes content from our show, special giveaways and contest, discounts and more. You can visit our website which is for more information. So, let’s get some more information from our panelists today. We have two lovely ladies joining us in the studio. So, Stephanie let’s start with you,
Stephanie Saalfeld : Hi, I am Stephanie Saalfeld, I am 29 years. I am a Gemologist. I am due January 9th with my first child. The gender is still unknown and we are hoping for a hospital birth.
Sunny Gault : Okay, Misty?
Misty Davies : Hi, I am Misty Davies, I am 33 years. I am a Gemologist as well. My due date is October 10th and it’s a girl and I have no other kids, it’s my first and I am hoping for a Unmedicated hospital birth.
Sunny Gault : Okay, well, thank you guys for joining us today.
[Theme Music]
[Featured Segment: The National Rally for Change]

Sunny Gault : Before we dive into today’s topic, we are gonna learn a little bit more about the national rally for change because it’s coming up in September and here to tell us a little bit more about Dawn Thompson. She is the president and founder of who is organizing the event. Welcome, Dawn.
Dawn Thompson : Good morning.
Sunny Gault : Yeah, so tell us more about the national rally for change.
Dawn Thompson : We originally started out saying we wanted to reduce the unnecessary cesarean rate and induction rate. Currently the cesarean rate in The United States is 32.6% that means one out of every three even greater than three women is having cesarean section. I think the important thing to realize is that even me like the 32% doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but when you start looking at what that means in numbers there is approximately 4.1 million births in The Unites States every year that means 1.5 million of them are having surgical birth. So, we are trying to reduce that but as improving birth has evolved we realize really what the core issue to is, is that we are not practicing evidence based care. On average they are saying that 20, it takes approximately 20 years for evidence to turn into practice, that’s unacceptable. We cannot continue to hurt moms and babies you know, because they can’t get, they can’t adapt the practices sooner. The medical schools aren’t teaching the current evidence but you know, it’s like it’s just the snow ball effect and we need to be doing better.
Sunny Gault : What is literally gonna happen at the rally? What do you expect. It’s obviously not a protest. I wanna make sure that people understand that.
Dawn Thompson : Yeah, no I mean really what it is, it’s an outreach program to reach out to the masses. You know, we really need to meet the people where they are giving birth and that’s at the hospitals. Some of our locations are not doing them in front of hospitals. Some are doing at the med court house. We are actually having one at the democratic convention. You know, I mean, really we are just trying to bring awareness and we are asking moms, we can’t put this all on the doctor.
Sunny Gault : Okay.
Dawn Thompson : We cannot. We as women have to take responsibility for our own birth and you need to be educating yourself. If you want to get more information about the rally please visit us at and click on the national rally page. It’s gonna be on September 3rd all across the country starting in New York and we have the same time for everyone from 10 am to noon and we will be starting on these course and we are gonna go across the U.S. We currently have, as of today I think we have like 45 cities throughout the country. We are literally coast to coast from San Diego to Massachusettes, New York, all those places. We do have many states that still needs to be filled so we are about a little more than half way there. Our goal is to have at least one in every state but we have got you know, California has 5 or 6 at this point, Texas has 4 you know.
Sunny Gault : Alright.
Dawn Thompson : You know some of the big cities, bigger states have a lot more than just the one so but even at this point we are gonna make an entirely enormous impact I think.
Sunny Gault : Okay, for more information they can go to Okay, thanks Dawn.
Dawn Thompson : Thank you.
[Theme Music]
Sunny Gault : Today we are talking about vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy. How can we as pregnant women overcome this obstacle and have the healthiest pregnancy possible? Here to help us answer that question is Carole Baggerly. She is the director and founder of GrassRootsHealth as well as Jen Aliano, she is the communications director of GrassRootsHealth and founder of Natural Baby Pros and Acupuncturist, nutritionist and Holistic health practitioner and how are you busy, Jen? Welcome to the show ladies, thanks for joining us.
Jen Aliano : Thanks for having us.
Sunny Gault : Okay, so Jen let’s talk a little bit more about deficiency. Is it impacting pregnant women across the board? What types of women does this primarily hit?
Jen Aliano : It’s actually affecting people worldwide, women, men and children especially those who are dark skinned, overweight, live at higher latitudes and avoid the sun or use sunscreen.
Sunny Gault : Now I am curious. I have to ask our panelists here. Now, prior to today’s episode are you even aware that so many pregnant women, over 80% of pregnant women have vitamin D deficiency? dis you have any idea, Stephanie?
Stephanie Saalfeld : Absolutely not.
Sunny Gault : No?
Stephanie Saalfeld : No.
Sunny Gault : And you are like Oh! My gosh I need to do research on this, right? Misty, what about you?
Misty Davies : I had no idea.
Sunny Gault : No, but today’s episode is gonna make a difference right? Okay! So, Jen how would a pregnant woman know if she is deficient in vitamin D?
Jen Aliano : The only way to know is to get your serum levels tested, your 25 OHD serum levels and you can either do that with your doctor or you can actually go to GrassRootsHealth and join our de-action study and get your levels tested through us.
Sunny Gault : Why isn’t this something I am curious, that people don’t test for automatically if so many women are impacted by this?
Jen Aliano : People don’t know about that. It is as simple as that. People don’t know about it and just to throw it out there I am San Diego native. I spend a lot time in the sun. I only use sunscreen moderately and my levels were in the 20’s now it’s scary for me I thought I was perfectly fine.
Sunny Gault : The 20’s out of…..
Jen Aliano : You wanna aim for 40 to 60. Nanagrams per mililiter.
Sunny Gault : Wow! And obviously sun is one of the ways and we will talk about that a little bit after the first break here. We will talk about ways we can improve our vitamin D levels. So, Jen why is it important for pregnant women to increase these levels like, what are we at risk for? Why not just have low vitamin D? What’s it gonna hurt?
Jen Aliano : Good question and for a long time people have only been concerned about vitamin D when it comes to your bone metabolism and health. That’s what vitamin D is most known for. Howeve,r there is vitamin D receptors and there is every single cell of your body which indicates a need for vitamin D and each one of those cells. And recent studies have shown there are many systems besides just bone health that rely on vitamin D for health. The most well-known vitamin D deficiency disease is Rickets; Rickets is only the tip of the vitamin D deficiency iceberg. Other diseases or issues that can rise from vitamin D deficiency include allergies, asthma, colds and flus. And during pregnancy fetal growth impairment, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia even preterm birth which recent studies have shown. Vitamin D could potentially decrease 50% of preterm birth and preterm birth is the leading cause of infant’s death and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. So, it’s got major health implications that affect almost every single system within the body.
Sunny Gault : So, Carole we know that more than 80% of pregnant women have this vitamin D deficiency but I think the big question is how do we get this away? You know why is this the case?
Carole Baggerly : The major reason that we have vitamin D deficient is because we are inside. It is that simple and that started literally back with industrial revolution when people came out for the farmland. And it’s now a worldwide problem because if you go to any society all around the world they are covered up, even people in the Southern region. So, we are out of the sun and it has taken a long time to realize that was the cause. We just take the sun programmed so much plus there has been this enormous cancer scare with skin cancer and that message has succeeded too well.
Sunny Gault : Right.
Carole Baggerly : The only part of that message that truly needs to stay out there is don’t burn, really that’s it. If you don’t burn you are fine. But, right now what we are dealing with the terms of major problems is any new thing or any new ideas specifically in the medical community meets with all kinds of resistance. It’s new, I didn’t learn it at medical school. It can’t true so that’s where GrassRootsHealth exists literally is to get the message out and say this is a major problem.
Sunny Gault : Is there new research out that is making this kind of you know more compelling to move forward with this and more personal or we are just at the point more really like “we gotta get this out”?
Carole Baggerly : Both, there has been a next conventional increase in the number of research papers published each and every single year. There were over 3000 papers published just last year and 10 years ago may be there were 500. There is research we just came, Jen and I just came back from a research conference in Houston which had international researchers added and right there and then on that very day they presented more than 500 new research papers.
Sunny Gault : Wow!
Carole Baggerly : So, it’s phenomenal and the thing that’s coming out about it is how, it was less than 5 years ago, less than 5 years ago when they actually realized that vitamin D impacts every cell in the body as opposed to just the bone metabolism and the calcium metabolism, it’s that new. And Dr. Robert Heiny and another one of our panel researchers indicated that vitamin D is actually the enabler. It doesn’t cause anything but your DNA tells what to do? How to grow whatever? If they don’t have enough vitamin D they can’t act. So vitamin D is the enabler.
Sunny Gault : Okay, which makes it so important for pregnant women obviously that means taking care of yourself and your unborn child.
Carole Baggerly : Of course.
Sunny Gault : When we come back we are gonna explore ways we can increase our vitamin D levels and improve the health of our growing babies. We will be right back.
[Theme Music]
Sunny Gault : Welcome back we are talking with Carole Baggerly and Jen Aliano about the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy and we know that the majority of pregnant women aren’t getting enough vitamin D. So, now we are gonna talk about the ways we can change that. So, Carole first of all how much vitamin D should pregnant women be getting?
Carole Baggerly : The aim throughout is to focus on the serum level and not how much. The serum level has to be at least 40 Nano grams per milliliter and it has to stick in the range of 40 to 60 which is a physiological level that people get out of sun all the time. Now in order to achieve that, alright, I will tell you that but still focus on the serum level. There was a very recent randomized trial done where they gave women, pregnant women 4000 international units a day and that’s what it took to get the average that means half of the women, alright, up to the 40 Nano grams per milliliter and higher. So, many people take a lot more and there were no evidences of any toxicity over a 4 year portion of the study and what so ever nobody had any problems.
Sunny Gault : Okay, so some times that is a concern when we are taking too much vitamin D?
Carole Baggerly : Of course, it’s really unfortunate that vitamin D got labeled with international units. A 1000 international units is 25 micro grams. It’s a tiny amount of stuff but by saying a 1000 it sounds like a lot.
Sunny Gault : Yeah, and it could scare people too.
Carole Baggerly : It does, it does so we need to get away from the lot. We just need to blow the concept and start focusing on what’s your serum level?
Misty Davies : So, before I was pregnant I was taking vitamin D. I was told to take about 2000 IU because I was deficient and I noticed that my mood was better a little while after taking it. So…….
Carole Baggerly : What happened? Let me tell you, there is a very significant ingredient of depression is one goes from a lower latitude like San Diego up to Canada up to Alaska or whatever. And there is a very significant effect of vitamin D on depression and as a matter of fact in one community and Alaska where we are working right now one of the reasons I started major projects was because they had 8 teenagers in high school commits suicide. It is a very big impact with seasonal effect of disorder so it’s there.
Misty Davies : Yeah, I certainly noticed a difference afterwards I mean definitely.
Carole Baggerly : Yeah, probably very quickly too like within a couple of weeks.
Misty Davies : Yeah, that was very quick.
Carole Baggerly : Yeah, the idea right now that you have a prenatal supplement which has all of 400 international units in it is absolutely ludicrous and we are out to change that because that is not enough. The simplest way to get vitamin D is through a supplement and it’s through a specific go get a vitamin D supplement not a supplement which has 15 other things in it because you might need to take 5 of them and you wouldn’t need to have 5 doses of vitamin A or whatever else might be there. So, stick to vitamin D3. It is not available adequately in foods unless you are an Eskimo and having to eat lots of whale blubber.
Sunny Gault : I have it every night actually, so I should be fine. (laughter)
Carole Baggerly : The milk is fortified and to the tune of about 400 international units a quart, that means you have to take 10 quarts of milk a day. Salmon, which is often tauted as a good source of vitamin D has about 400 units, nobody is gonna eat 10 servings a salmon a day.
Sunny Gault : Wow.
Carole Baggerly : So, if you don’t have the sunshine, go to the supplement. It’s that’s simple.
Sunny Gault : Okay, so it really comes back I am glad that you, you pointed that out. We take our prenatal vitamins and we think we are completely covered but we are not.
Carole Baggerly : But many of the doctors think that you are covered because they don’t know enough yet.
Sunny Gault : Alright.
Carole Baggerly : Alright, and that’s why we have this campaign going, yeah.
Sunny Gault : Wow! Okay so we may be educating our own doctors about this.
Carole Baggerly : Big time, big time that is one of the GrassRootsHealth things that we do. We put on medical seminars for doctors.
Sunny Gault : Okay.
Carole Baggerly : Because they don’t know. The medical professional at by large does not yet know enough to do the right job.
Sunny Gault : Okay, and I think women, pregnant women are somewhat scared into the fact of “don’t go out into the sun. You could hurt your baby”, you know, and it sounds to me like you know, maybe that’s simplifying a little too much you know. When we do go out into the sun though should we be using any kind of sunscreen you know, we think about that with our kids and to protect ourselves as well does it indicate this Vitamin D that we are talking about?
Carole Baggerly : Sunscreen does indicate getting the vitamin D you put on the sunscreen and the UVB rays from the sun don’t go through it, it’s as simple. My message about the sun as I mentioned earlier is very simple don’t burn; different people have different skin, different tolerances and all of that sort of stuff. And somebody may have a very white skin and they really need to spend 5 minutes a day out, alright. But the time this is the key piece to it, the time to be out in the is sun between 10am and 2pm, alright between 10am and 2pm. Earlier in the day the sun’s rise are too far down to come to the atmosphere so there is no vitamin D coming through, alright. So, you really need to be out between 10am and 2pm which is the time where everybody is told not to be out.
Sunny Gault : Alright, this is so contradictory to what we hear.
Carole Baggerly : But again that whole message that you are talking about being contradictory to is the fear of skin cancer and that’s been overblown, flat out overblown so, again don’t burn and get out.
Stephanie Saalfeld : Does this mean direct son or does this mean you know, you can be sitting outside having lunch you know under a patio mbrella and still be getting some indirect sun?
Carole Baggerly : You certainly can, the indirect sun works because the sun’s rays bounce to your skin so you could be out of direct sun and still get some of the effect.
Stephanie Saalfeld: Ok, that’s good.
Carole Baggerly : Sure, sure. You can’t get it through a car window, you can’t get it through a glass window that effectively blocks the UVB rays which are the ones that create vitamin D in your skin.
Stephanie Saalfeld:: Okay.
Misty Davies : And then I am also at a high risk for skin cancer so…..
Sunny Gault : So, you are the one that really stays out of the sun?
Misty Davies: Yeah, well I put on sunscreen and I do try to stay out of the sun.
Carole Baggerly : I understand.

Misty Davies : So I mean you said as a little 5 minutes between 10am and 2pm.
Carole Baggerly: Every little bit that you are out matters it takes again age matters somewhat. It actually matters a great deal. Your skin processes the vitamin D a lot better when you are younger like you are compared to a matured person, right? But anyway in order to get enough vitamin D if you are between 10am and 2pm with 40% of your body exposed, alright, it would take may be 10 to 15 minutes, that’s it.
Misty Davies : Okay.
Carole Baggerly : Alright, it doesn’t take an hour but it does take more than 5 minutes and the idea that you can walk to from your car and get enough is not true.
Sunny Gault : Okay, so Carole, let’s talk a little bit more about the protect our children now campaign, what is that all about?
Carole Baggerly : We’re gonna save the world! (laughter)
Sunny Gault : Well good! I’m glad we could help you with that.
Carole Baggerly : We love that. We have been working on how to help the world literally at large in many ways of serving the vitamin D deficiency. You have to go where the action is, where the biggest bank for the bucket to speak right. And if you look to see where can I make the biggest health impact, the fastest which is also long term just with pregnant because everything that the pregnant women does again you can protect yourself against very highly increased risk. So, we reduce the risk by 50% of preterm births, preeclampsia, bacterial infections I mean Oh! My god just the things that pregnancy get reduced, alright. But all of a sudden you can now have an infant that is born without that handicapped and it is a handicapped and as I mentioned earlier like you can predict the risk of that girl’s child with cancer with 55 years from now if she is born deficient.
Sunny Gault : Wow!
Carole Baggerly : So, we can change this whole next generation by getting pregnant women up to speed and our campaign, protect our children now campaign literally is too full No.1 we wanna protect women but we are enrolling a 1000 women in San Diego right now. It can be done in any community because what we want to do is within those thousand women over the course of their pregnancies we will track blood levels, serum levels, vitamin D levels and all the health outcomes and then that of their fetus and their child. And after about a year we will publish the hours to guardness, evidence based medicine report we have a scientific panel and this will be done with a serious medical study. And we will invite every one of those 1000 women to march on city hall and say ---you know this is great to have this individual GrassRootsHealth campaign, but it’s not enough. There are more than 5000 births in San Diego every year that means 2600 of them had some major preterm birth issue. It doesn’t have to happen so we have to get the politicians involved. We have to get the public health people so we’re building a correlation of people who care about their children to take action.
Sunny Gault : And how can our listeners help with that?
Carole Baggerly : They can log onto and look at the little icon that’s right there that says “protect our children now” and click on it. We definitely need people to participate in the project and at this point of time we are very, urgently in need of sponsors who are willing to put up the money for a scientific project to make this happen. It’s gonna cost us $300,000 dollars to run the project for a year. We intend to run it for 5 years so we can work with the children as well. And so that is a major thing in any kind of a support with that and it has also got a list of other ways to help from endorsing it, those of you, you can endorse the project which is a great idea.
Sunny Gault : And you can do that from wherever, so for our listeners that aren’t in San Diego, aren’t even in the country….
Carole Baggerly : Sure, sure absolutely and you can also look at having a similar project in any community. The only reason we are doing this San Diego is to kick it off and to get that clinic coalition built right here.
Sunny Gault : Alright.
Carole Baggerly : So, we can take those 1000 women in the city hall and say “Hey, do it for everybody.”
Sunny Gault : Alright, got to start somewhere, why not San Diego?
Carole Baggerly : Right, absolutely, absolutely.
Sunny Gault : Well, thank you ladies for being here with us today and for sharing all this great information. If you want more information about vitamin D deficiency or if you wanna endorse their program you can visit, as well as the episodes page on our website which is
[Theme Music]
[Featured Segment: Maternity Fashion Trends]

Sunny Gault : Before we wrap today’s show, here is some Maternity Fashion Trends.
Krystal Stubendeck : Hello, Preggie Pals I am Krystal Stubendeck Maternity Fashion expert and founder of Borrow For Your Bump where you can buy and rent designer maternity styles for a monthly rate. This segment we will cover the awkward phase of pregnancy otherwise known as the belly or bump days. If you are not quite ready for maternity sizes but you are quickly outgrowing your favorite jeans and your cute top. To draw attention away from your bump you can balance belly with statement jewelry. This will draw attention away and onto the face and neck. A dramatic neck line, a junky short necklace or dangling earrings will do the trick. Adding parts of color or prints in unexpected places is another trick to hide the fact that you are expecting. A bright yellow hair piece, coral scarf or turquoise bling or, like Jessica Simpson, use a large animal prints to draw the highway plus it gives you an excuse to splurge on those parts with an eye. A polk-a-dot skirt is another way to take the attention off your mid-section. Have fun with it but one or two eye catchers is more than enough. Layering is another way disguise a bump. We recommend layering a blazer accordingly over a patterned blouse or try a maxi dress with an empire waist. Try styles as long and flowing towards the bottom. We love ink print maxi dress by Lilac, without wearing a sign that says “I am pregnant”, you may want to show people that you are expecting. In that case whether it’s a top or a dress, styles with empire waist size and roush sides are the best way to take the focus to the center of the body. You can also use a belt under the bust to create more shape. Stay away from short tops that are tight fitting and oversized clothing that can completely hide your shape and actually make you appear bigger. Throughout the first trimester, you should be able to comfortably wear most of your pre-pregnancy clothes. For bottoms, you may want to switch to low waist pants or jeans which will allow for a little more room for your tummy. Choose items in your wardrobe that have stretchy waistbands. For tops, loose and fitting blouses and peasant tops should work for the couple of months. No matter what your stage --- feel look great during your pregnancy. Don’t forget to check out the styles mentioned at and be sure to listen to Preggie Pals for more great pregnancy tips.
Sunny Gault : That wraps up our show for today if you have any questions about today’s topic or any pregnancy related questions, you can ask our experts. Simply send us an email or call our Preggie Pals hotline at 619-866-4775 and we’ll answer your questions on an upcoming episode. If you have a pregnancy topic you would like to suggest we would love to hear it. Visit our website at and send us an email. Thanks for listening to Preggie Pals, “Your Pregnancy Your Way.”
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing any house care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby please receive assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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