We are excited to launch our second Protect Our Children NOW! project in South Carolina at the Palmetto Health Richland. Vitamin D testing and supplementation will be available at no cost to all pregnant women receiving care at the clinic. The project will include patient and health care provider education, screening, and vitamin D supplements–leading the opportunity for better health for an entire generation.
This is a wonderful opportunity to improve health outcomes and save lives, starting in utero. We aim to help reduce the incidence of preterm births, as well as positively influence the health of pregnant moms and lower the prevalence of early childhood diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency. When you start with vitamin D sufficiency in utero, it is like filling up the gas tank before your summer road trip – you are setting up for health success.
We couldn’t have done this without the health advocacy of Dr. Berry Campbell, Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, who understands the important of prevention with vitamin D.
How will this work?
As part of this project, Palmetto will add a 25(OH) vitamin D test to the panel of prenatal labs. Upon reviewing the results of the test, participants will receive free vitamin D supplements, compliments of NOW Foods and Carlson Labs, as well as educational materials, access to an online forum, and a local project educator for questions and support.
Further blood tests will measure vitamin D serum levels at 24 weeks and at 36 weeks gestation.
GrassrootsHealth will be receiving de-identified medical data for all prenatal patients at Palmetto to analyze not just the effects of vitamin D serum level on prenatal and newborn health outcomes, but also how vitamin D education to the medical staff affects treatment and care of the pregnant women.
This monitored translational methodology allows research to be moved into practice very quickly (3 years) versus the standard 15-25 years.
“Adding a supplement as simple as Vitamin D3 into a woman’s daily regimen can help her achieve a vitamin D serum level of 40 ng/ml. This serum level improves her health and the health of her unborn child. The best thing about this new protocol is that it is affordable and can be done by any woman at any time,” Campbell said. “The best results come from women who have begun taking Vitamin D3 prior to becoming pregnant.”
Educating the staff
One of the key parts of Protect our Children NOW! is the education of staff members. GrassrootsHealth provides five free CME courses for all health professionals. For this project, staff members will be encouraged to take:
Public Health Initiative: Meeting the Vitamin D Requirements of the Pregnant Woman and Improving Health Outcomes; NICHD Vitamin D Lactation. Summary Data with Dr. Carol Wagner
Carol L. Wagner, MD, Medical University of South Carolina, discusses how vitamin D status during pregnancy varies around the globe and the implications of maternal vitamin D deficiency for both the mother and her developing fetus. Information is provided regarding the role of vitamin D during pregnancy, its role in maternal health and in reducing comorbidities of pregnancy, including preterm birth. The talk is concluded with NICHD Vitamin D Lactation Summary Data to detail the importance of maternal supplementation during lactation, versus supplementing the baby alone, in order to maintain sufficiency for both the mother and the breastfeeding infant.
Vitamin D is an essential component of the mechanisms by which cells control gene transcription in response to a variety of extra-cellular stimuli. Adequate vitamin D enables an optimal response to a broad variety of signals, whereas low vitamin D status impairs this response, and thus impairs its protective mechanism against chronic disease. In this video, Robert P. Heaney, MD, Creighton University explores why vitamin D is important, how it works, how we get it and how much we need. He covers the key points of vitamin D physiology and the role it plays in the maintenance of health and specifies practitioner guidelines for implementing a plan to help create optimal health with sunshine and vitamin D.