06/07/2010 22:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Vitamin D Confusion - Should Pregnant Women Take A Supplement?

Pregnant women have been thrown into confusion this week after doctors issued confusing advice on vitamin pills.

The University College London Institute of Child Health advises expectant mothers to routinely take vitamin D supplements to protect their babies from life-threatening conditions.

However, this goes against the official NHS guidelines, and the recommendations from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which say there is no need for women to take the supplement.

There has also been a report recently in the British Journal of Nutrition which links vitamin D deficiency to health problems for pregnant women and newborn babies.

The UK is currently the only one of 31 European countries that doesn't offer a recommendation for the amount of vitamin D a women of reproductive age should take.
Thanks to our cold winters and our aversion to spending too much time in the sun due to sun damage, one in 10 women in the UK are estimated to be vitamin D deficient. This rises to one in four during winter and spring. Our current diet also neglects vitamin D, which can usually be found in oily fish, liver and eggs.

Vitamin D is responsible for healthy bones and teeth. A deficiency can lead to bone disease rickets and infantile hypercalcaemia.

Currently, the Department of Health recommends pregnant women receive 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, which would mean consuming a supplement for most women.

Source: Daily Mail