The best vitamin D source is from sensible exposure to sunlight, which is why it is often called ‘the sunshine vitamin’ although this is difficult at certain times of the year and for certain high risk groups. During the winter we use our body’s stores and what is available from our diet.
However, dietary vitamin D makes a relatively small contribution to overall vitamin D status as it is not present in high quantities in many foods. So even a good balanced diet can mean it is difficult to get all the vitamin D you need.
It is found in small amounts in:
Oily fish (e.g salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna) – no more than 2 portions a week in pregnancy
Eggs (ensure fully cooked)
Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and some spreads and yogurts
Supplementation of vitamin D is recommended to all pregnant ladies at 400 units (10mcg) per day. Higher levels of supplementation are recommended if a deficiency is identified and a GP can recommend the appropriate level. It is a fat soluble vitamin which is stored in the body, so it is always best to seek advice about supplementing beforehand.