Vitamin D may prevent anemia during gestation
- Blood volume grows 20 to 30 percent
In pregnancy, in order to feed the developing fetus, the amount of blood in the body typically increases 20 to 30 percent. This requires more iron and other nutrients to make the extra red blood cells, and to stave off iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia in pregnancy.
In this review of eight studies covering a total of 6,530 pregnancies, doctors discovered a direct link between anemia and vitamin D deficiency: Women who were deficient in vitamin D were 61 percent more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia compared to women with adequate levels of vitamin D.
Pregnant women who are more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia include strict vegetarians, vegans, those with Crohn’s or celiac disease; women with two pregnancies close together, those carrying twins or more, and those with prolonged vomiting from morning sickness.
Reference: Nutrition Reviews; 2022, Vol. 80, No. 3, 428–38