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Why is vitamin D3 important during pregnancy?

Why is vitamin D3 important during pregnancy

Making healthy choices during pregnancy won't only support your wellbeing, but it will also give your baby the best start in life. And when it comes to optimising your prenatal nutrition, it’s important to pay closer attention to certain nutrients, like vitamin D3. 

What is vitamin D3?

Dubbed the ‘sunshine nutrient’, vitamin D3 is vital for good overall health, supporting bones, teeth, muscle function, immunity, and cell division.  

Why is vitamin D3 essential during pregnancy?

We all need vitamin D3. But it’s especially critical during pregnancy. Vitamin D3 helps regulate calcium and phosphate equilibrium, which supports your skeletal health throughout pregnancy, as well as the growth of your baby’s bones, teeth, and nervous system (1). Research suggests low maternal vitamin D3 status may cause musculoskeletal problems in infancy and adolescence (2).
Low vitamin D3 levels during pregnancy are also associated with an increased risk of poor birth outcomes, including premature birth, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia (3).

Where can you find vitamin D3?

The best source of vitamin D3 is sunlight. When sunlight hits the skin, the body can synthesise vitamin D3. From late March to September, most people can make enough vitamin D3 by having their face, hands, and arms in the sun for a few minutes. However, people with darker skin often need longer.
Aside from sunlight, you can find small amounts of vitamin D3 in oily fish, red meat, eggs, mushrooms, and some fortified foods like breakfast cereals.

Should you take a vitamin D3 supplement during pregnancy?

If you don't have adequate sun exposure – which can be difficult if you live in the UK, especially between October and early March – spend most of your time indoors or cover your skin with clothing, you will struggle to get enough vitamin D3 from food alone.  This can be even harder if you’re vegetarian or vegan since most sources come from animal products.
With that in mind, taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement can help cover any nutritional shortfalls during pregnancy.

Can I take vitamin D3 during pregnancy if vegan?

Most vitamin D3 supplements derive from gelatine, which isn’t vegan-friendly. However, it’s possible to find formulas comprised of plant-based cholecalciferol to support your vitamin D3 intake during pregnancy on a vegan diet.
You can read more about having a healthy vegan pregnancy here.

How much vitamin D3 do you need in pregnancy?

According to the NHS, pregnant women should consider a daily vitamin D3 supplement containing 10µg to support their intake (4).
Taking a high-quality, comprehensive prenatal multivitamin is a simple and convenient way to ensure a reliable intake of vitamin D3, along with other important pregnancy nutrients, such as folic acid, choline, iodine, iron, and calcium.

Find out more

If you found this article on vitamin D3 and pregnancy useful, you can find similar guidance on our health blog. Alternatively, please get in touch with our team of expert Nutrition Advisors, who are on hand to provide free, confidential advice.




  1. (). Importance of vitamin D during the antenatal period for maternal well-being. British Journal Of Midwifery. Available at: .

  2. (). The Vitamin D in Pregnancy Study: a prospective prebirth cohort in southern Australia. BMJ Open, 10(8), e036003e036003.

  3. (). Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy. Available at: .

  4. (f). Vitamins, minerals and supplements in pregnancy. Available at: .


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Our Author - Olivia Salter


Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.

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