From Dr. Mercola:

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a wide variety of health problems and diseases, and widespread vitamin D deficiency may also play a role in the United States’ abysmal maternal health rating. It has been estimated that if vitamin D levels were raised among the general population, it could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year.

According to the 2015 Save the Children report1 on the health of mothers around the world, the U.S. ranks worst among developed countries.

Shockingly, pregnant American women face a one in 1,800 risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications — a 10 times higher risk than that of women in Poland and Austria, for example.

When all countries of the world are included, the U.S. ranks 33 out of 179, down two spots from 2014. Raising vitamin D levels among pregnant women may curb this trend, and help protect not only the life and health of the mother, but also her child.

If you’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or know anyone planning a family, the following information is crucial, and I encourage you to share it widely.

Vitamin D Is Crucial for Mother and Child

In the U.S., premature births have risen 36 percent over the past 25 years. Each year, more than half a million preemies are now born in the U.S., and it’s the number one killer of newborns.

Research shows that vitamin D optimization could likely prevent half of these premature births. Among African-American and Hispanic populations, as much as 70 to 75 percent of all preterm births might be prevented.

Similar findings have been documented among twin births, which tend to have a higher risk for preterm birth. A 2013 study2 found that women carrying twins who had a minimum vitamin D level of 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) in their late second trimester had a 60 percent reduction in preterm births.

Previous research3 has also shown that women with a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml have a 25 percent reduction in infections, particularly respiratory infections such as colds and flu, as well as fewer infections of the vagina and the gums.

Comorbidities of pregnancy were also reduced by 30 percent in the women who achieved 40 ng/ml, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia – a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure and fluid accompanied by low platelets.

A mother’s vitamin D status during pregnancy can also have lifelong ramifications for her child. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood allergies, asthma,4,5 colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life of the child.6,7

40 ng/ml Is the ‘Magic Number’ for Reducing Risk of Preterm Birth

According to the most recent paper,8 produced by researchers from GrassrootsHealth and the Medical University of South Carolina, women with vitamin D levels of 40 to 60 ng/ml have a 46 percent lower preterm birth rate

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