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Free Vitamin D for expectant mums in Lewisham

 

Free Vitamin D scheme offers supplements of essential vitamin to expectant mums and infants


All pregnant women, new mums and children under four can now get free supplements of vitamin D, essential for healthy bones, thanks to the new Free D scheme from Lewisham Council and the local NHS.


The move comes on the back of concerns about the increase in rickets and other impacts of low levels of vitamin D that can include bone and muscle pain, a soft skull, weak teeth and delayed walking in infants. When pregnant women don’t get enough vitamin D their children can be more at risk of rickets, seizures and even heart failure. The bones of a child with rickets are unable to support its body weight, resulting in bowed legs or ‘knock-knee’.


Dr Danny Ruta, Lewisham’s Director of Public Health, said: “The body needs vitamin D to ensure the growth and continued health of bones and teeth. The best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight on the skin. However the sun in the UK is only strong enough between April and September. While vitamin D is present in small amounts in some foods, such as oily fish and eggs, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, no matter how healthy your diet is. Taking daily supplements will make sure you get the right amount.”


Just a few weeks ago England's chief medical officer called for all children in the country to be offered the vitamin supplements to safeguard their health. Currently the NHS offers free vitamins A, C and D to all children under five from low-income families. Professor Dame Sally Davies said extending the scheme would protect more children and save money.


If you are pregnant or have children under four you can register for the scheme at most community pharmacies across Lewisham and other sites listed. For more information visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/freeD or ask your health visitor, pharmacist or midwife for details.