Many infertility clinics have made vitamin D screening a regular component of fertility testing. This is because adequate levels of the vitamin are key to getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term. One analysis of 11 studies found that women with sufficient vitamin D were 34% more likely to get pregnant and 33% more likely to have a live birth. So should a woman who wants to get pregnant immediately start a supplement?
More is not always better
While adequate vitamin D levels are vital for reproductive health, there is a sweet spot to strive for. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, which can lead to a belief that all women should take supplementation. However, if levels are already within a normal range, taking additional vitamin D may even be disadvantageous.
One study found that doses of vitamin D that are too high may be just as counterproductive to getting pregnant as a deficiency. However, the same study found that women taking the supplement were less likely to have complications such as preeclampsia and postpartum bleeding. Before starting a supplement, women should consult with a healthcare provider to find out if current levels are low or not.
Sources of vitamin D
Exposure to sunlight, usually 5-10 minutes 2-3 days per week, can help to boost vitamin D levels. Women should also focus on eating foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as fish, egg yolks, milk, and fortified cereals. If levels are still not within an optimal range after making these changes, women should then consult with a healthcare provider about possible supplementation.
What else can you do to improve fertility?
Women looking to improve reproductive health can make additional diet and lifestyle changes to boost chances of pregnancy. Cutting back on refined carbs and trans fats while eating more foods rich in antioxidants has been shown to improve fertility. Additionally, women should strive to maintain a healthy weight, minimize stress, and aim for at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Is vitamin D right for you?
Reproductive health can be complicated. Some supplements may help boost a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. Women should speak with a healthcare provider individually about whether or not vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial.