When you’re trying to conceive or going through fertility treatment, your focus at times may be more on outside factors. For example, if you’re doing in vitro fertilization, how many eggs were retrieved? How is the quality of our embryos? Or, if you’ve just started trying to have a family, you may be using ovulation prediction kits, wondering about your partner’s sperm count or if you’re having sex in the best position to conceive.
Whatever path you’re taking to have a family, one of the best things to do is to remember that the best place to start is with you and your health! Getting an annual physical, taking care of yourself, making sure you are eating a healthy diet and in certain cases, making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. All of these can aid in not only conceiving but be instrumental in having a healthy pregnancy.
What is Vitamin D and How Do You Know if You’re Deficient?
Vitamin D is needed for general health and to maintain strong bones. It manages the calcium in your blood, bones and helps muscles function and allows the brain and body to communicate through nerves. It also helps your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses.
If you’re someone who is frequently indoors, lives in a place without a lot of sunlight, tend not to eat a balanced meal or a diet that doesn’t include food rich in vitamin D such as fish or dairy; you may be vitamin D deficient. Common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are:
– Hair loss/alopecia
– Feeling tired or fatigued often
– Getting sick often or easily
– Cuts that don’t heal quickly
– Stomach/gut issues
– Back or bone pain
– Muscle pain
According to Dr. Joseph Davis, medical director of Cayman Fertility Centre, “Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and is a marker of nutritional status and overall wellness. If your vitamin D level is low be sure to speak to your doctor about finding the cause”.
Vitamin D and Fertility
While there remains some debate about a definite correlation between Vitamin D and fertility, in 2012, there was a study from Infertility Unit of the Fondazione Ca’ Granda at Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico that found women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were almost twice as likely to conceive, compared with those who had lower levels of vitamin D. There were two additional studies that have shown vitamin D is associated with higher pregnancy rates including one study that showed those with a normal vitamin D level were four times more likely to get pregnant through IVF compared to those who had a low vitamin D level.
Vitamin D and Pregnancy
Having a vitamin D deficiency can also negatively impact your pregnancy. It can increase your risk of anemia, pre-eclampsia which can result in an emergency caesarean birth. The March of Dimes lists vitamin D as one of its top six nutrients to assist with your baby’s growth and development during your pregnancy by giving him or her what it needs for its bones and teeth to develop.
It’s important to note that overdoing it and taking too much vitamin D isn’t a good solution either. Whether you find these studies compelling or not, vitamin D does play a significant role in your overall health and that most certainly can impact your fertility. If you suspect you are deficient, and you are trying to conceive, speaking to your reproductive endocrinologist or primary care physician to get the necessary blood work to check is highly recommended. Especially when you’re planning to be pregnant in the upcoming future!
In the meantime, eating a healthy diet is always a good idea and of course, if you need a fertility clinic where there’s lot of sunshine providing you with some natural vitamin D goodness, we know a fantastic one!