Vitamin D is found naturally in some foods and we also get vitamin D from sunlight. Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D from our diet and we rely on the summer sunlight on our skin to make enough vitamin D for the winter months.
The amount of time you need to spend in the sun to make enough vitamin D is different for everyone and depends on your skin type, the time of day and the time of year. You don't need to sunbathe, though.
Just 15 minutes a day in the sun, two or three times a week, should be enough in sunny weather, and you only need to expose your arms and face.
How much vitamin D should I take in pregnancy?
- All pregnant women should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D each day to give your baby enough vitamin D for the first few months of life.
- Breastfeeding mums should take a vitamin D supplement as well.
Without it, there is a risk that your child will have soft bones, which can lead to rickets (a disease that affects bone development in children).
If you are eligible for Healthy Start vitamins, vitamin D is included. You can also buy Healthy Start vitamins at some GP clinics and vitamin D supplements cheaply at a pharmacy or supermarket.
Will I need to take extra vitamin D in pregnancy?
Some women are more likely to need vitamin D than others. You may have an even higher risk of vitamin D deficiency if you:
- always cover your skin
- use high-factor sun block
- have dark skin
- have a BMI above 30.
What foods have vitamin D?
Foods containing vitamin D include:
- oily fish (salmon and sardines, for example)
- It's sometimes added to margarine and breakfast cereals, too.