Lisa Bodnar, PhD, of the Magee-Womens Research Institute, talks about the potential benefits of vitamin D and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy.\nMore and more women are aware of the benefits of prenatal vitamins. They often look to bolster their intake of folic acid and iron to help have a healthy pregnancy.\nBut, many expectant mothers may be overlooking the pros of vitamin D supplements.\nDr. Bodnar says growing numbers of studies show pregnant women with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have a:\n\nPreterm birth.\nSudden rise in blood pressure (preeclampsia).\nSmall baby that might not be able to go home right away.\n\nResearch and studies to see if vitamin D can prevent these problems are still in their very early stages.\n\u201cThere haven\u2019t been any large trials to test whether vitamin D supplements prevent these poor pregnancy outcomes,\u201d Dr. Bodnar says.\n\u201cWe need vitamin D for many other processes in the body and we suspect it plays a role in pregnancy. But, until some large trials have been done, we can\u2019t say anything else with terrible certainty,\u201d she says.\nWhat We Do Know About Vitamin D for Moms-to-Be\nWhile research hasn\u2019t yet confirmed the benefits of excess vitamin D, we do know the value of having sufficient levels during pregnancy.\n\u201cBeing sufficient in vitamin D is known to promote healthy skeletal development in the fetus. It also ensures healthy bones for the mom,\u201d Dr. Bodnar says.\nPregnant women should take in the recommended 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day.\nWe receive most of our vitamin D from sunlight. Where you live can play a big role in how much vitamin D your body gets.\nAccording to Dr. Bodnar:\n\u201cIn northern cities like Pittsburgh \u2014 from about November to March \u2014 our bodies can\u2019t make enough vitamin D from the sun. This is when the oral intake of vitamin D through supplements and diet becomes so vital.\u201d\nTips to Increase Vitamin D During Pregnancy\nSome tips for increasing vitamin D without sunlight include taking prenatal vitamins for pregnancy.\nYou can also focus your diet more on foods rich in vitamin D, including:\n\nFortified dairy products and cereal\nEggs\nMushrooms\nFatty fish such as salmon\n\nFor more on how to have a healthy pregnancy, visit the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC website or call 1-866-MyMagee (696-2433).