Vitamins, Supplements and Nutrition in Pregnancy

Vitamins, Supplements and Nutrition in Pregnancy - welzo

What’s covered?


green leafy vegetables and folic acid supplement can provide adequate nutrition levels during pregnancyIntroduction

As you prepare for pregnancy, knowing what vitamins and minerals are essential for your baby's health is important. You're probably already aware that folic acid is a necessary vitamin during pregnancy. But did you know that taking a daily prenatal multivitamin can help reduce the risk of complications? And did you know that calcium supplements may be necessary if your doctor recommends them?

Prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins designed specifically for pregnant women. They contain folic acid, calcium and iron, which are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Because of their unique blend of nutrients, prenatal vitamins can help to prevent congenital disabilities and other complications in the mother and child. There is no harm in taking them if you are planning on becoming pregnant or have already started your pregnancy.

What are the essential vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy?

There are several vitamins that you need during pregnancy. They include:

  • Vitamin A is essential for your baby's growth, especially in their eyes and brain. You can get it from animal sources such as meat, fish and dairy products.

  • Vitamin B6 helps ensure your baby's growth by giving them energy and making protein for cell growth. It also helps develop your baby's nervous system and muscles throughout pregnancy. You can find this vitamin in foods like cereal or leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale.

  • Vitamin B12 is vital for red blood cell production in the mother's body and the baby's neural tube formation around 6-8 weeks into a pregnancy. This vitamin can be found in poultry such as chicken breasts or fish such as salmon steaks. Still, it may not always be adequately absorbed due to the lack of enzymes to break down these foods properly, so you may take an oral supplement instead.

  • Folic acid has been shown in studies done over several decades. Taking folic acid supplements regularly before conception reduces risk factors associated with neural tube defects later during gestation.

Which vitamins should you take during pregnancy?

There are many vitamins and minerals that you need to take care of in pregnancy.

Some of the most important ones are:

  • Vitamin A protects against infections and helps your baby's vision develop well. You can find this vitamin in dairy products, lean meat, eggs and leafy green vegetables like spinach.

  • Vitamin B helps maintain your baby's nervous system and aids red blood cell production. Vitamin B-12 can be found in meat, poultry, fish and milk products. At the same time, folic acid is found naturally in leafy green vegetables such as spinach or Brussels sprouts. Still, it is also added to bread and cereals (fortified). Suppose you do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy. In that case, it could lead to congenital disabilities such as spina bifida. You can also take a supplement containing 800 micrograms of folic acid every day from 12 weeks pregnant until 12 weeks after giving birth.

  • Vitamin C - Helps protect against infection by boosting immunity, making it an essential nutrient for expectant mums.

  • Iron - Is needed for good health, significantly during pregnancy when iron requirements increase due to heightened blood volume. This means more oxygenated blood being pumped around the body through increased heart rate, increasing the demand for iron from both mother & foetus. Iron deficiency anaemia can cause tiredness and fatigue, so eating iron-rich foods will help prevent this condition.

  • DHA & EPA – These Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cognitive outcomes, including mental development at three years old, compared with those who did not receive them during infancy.

What is the importance of folic acid during the pregnancy period?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of genetic material. Folic acid is vital for developing the baby's brain and spinal cord. It also plays a role in preventing certain congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.

The primary source of folic acid in foods is green leafy vegetables (for example, spinach), legumes (for example, lentils), oranges, tomatoes and fortified cereals. However, many women don't eat enough folic acid-rich foods to meet their needs during pregnancy.

A folic acid supplement is recommended in all pregnancies because they reduce your risk of having a child with neural tube defects (NTDs) like spina bifida. Folate taken before conception and early pregnancy reduces NTDs by up to 70%.

There are two forms of folate: folic acid, which is found in supplements and fortified foods, and folate (sometimes called "natural folic acid"), which is found in fruits, vegetables and other foods.

Folate also may help protect the fetus against other birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate.

To get enough folate during pregnancy:

  • Consume lots of fruits and vegetables daily

  • Eat beans or lentils regularly

Is there a risk of overdose if folic acid is taken too much?

If you think you are taking too much, stop immediately and contact your doctor.

Taking more than the recommended dosage of folic acid can cause diarrhoea and nausea.

Excessive dosages will not harm your baby but could cause birth defects if taken in large amounts during pregnancy.

get the right nutrition levels during pregnancy

What is the significance of vitamin D in pregnancy?

Pregnant women need to have Vitamin D. It helps the baby's bones develop correctly and is necessary for the mother's body. Calcium and phosphorus are essential elements that contribute to the health of your bones and teeth, and vitamin D assists your body in absorbing these nutrients.

What kinds of food offer the highest levels of vitamin D?

  • Vitamin D is most commonly obtained from the consumption of dairy products. However, they typically do not contain enough vitamin D to fulfil the requirements for one day. At least three times a day, you should aim to consume low-fat dairy products.

  • Fish such as salmon and tuna are also good sources of vitamin D, but limit your intake to once or twice a week while pregnant because they may contain contaminants that could be harmful to you and your baby.

  • Egg yolks are an unprocessed source of vitamin D, but egg whites do not contain this nutrient. You can safely eat up to six whole eggs per week during pregnancy (but limit consumption of raw eggs due to possible risk for salmonella infection).

Is vitamin A good for pregnant women?

Taking vitamin A in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy would be best. This is because your body needs more of it to help with your baby's development.

Vitamin A helps keep your eyes and skin healthy, too.

You can find this vitamin in foods like fish, eggs, milk and yoghurt. You can also find it in supplements (like multivitamins).

Does an iron supplement needed for pregnant women?

Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body, and it also helps build your baby's growing bones and muscles.

Pregnant women need more iron than women who aren't pregnant because they are building up blood in their bodies for both of them. It's crucial for pregnant women to get enough iron because, without enough iron, their babies may have trouble growing or might be born too early.

The iron recommended for pregnant women is 27 milligrams (mg) per day from all sources, including food, multivitamins with minerals and supplements containing iron only if prescribed by a doctor. Pregnant teens should follow the same guidelines as pregnant adults: 27 mg/day from all sources, including food, multivitamins with minerals and supplements containing iron only if prescribed by a doctor.)

Where can I get the right vitamin supplements for pregnancy?

Knowing what your body needs is essential if you're pregnant or trying to conceive. Here are some of the vitamins and supplements you can take to make sure your baby is healthy:

  • Multivitamin supplements provide a wide range of nutrients, including iron and folic acid. Folic acid (also known as folate) helps prevent infant neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. You should take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) daily from all sources. Your doctor may recommend taking more than that if you've had a previous baby with such a problem or if the father of your child has an altered sperm count or genetic disorder related to male fertility problems.

  • Iron supplements contain 32 milligrams (mg) per tablet and should be taken daily during pregnancy until delivery. Afterwards, they can be continued up until six months after delivery if needed. This will help prevent anaemia during pregnancy and later, which increases the risk for premature birth and low birth weight. These are other problems associated with inadequate nutrition during these critical stages of development.

What is the significance of calcium during pregnancy?

The importance of calcium during pregnancy cannot be overstated, as it is essential for the growth of your baby's bones and teeth. Calcium is also vital for developing your baby's nervous system, so it helps them to develop appropriately.

Calcium helps to prevent preterm birth and low birth weight. If you don't have enough dietary sources of calcium, such as milk or yoghurt, then taking a supplement like Caltrate 600mg (Calcium Carbonate) may be necessary.

Iodine during pregnancy

Iodine is an essential mineral that is important for the development of your baby's brain. An iodine deficiency can lead to mental retardation in the baby, cretinism (physical and mental abnormalities caused by severe iodine deficiency), or goitre in the mother.

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause cretinism (physical and mental abnormalities caused by severe iodine deficiency) in the infant and goitre in both mother and child.

Since it's not always easy to get all these nutrients from our food, take multivitamin supplements

Most prenatal vitamins contain the requirements for pregnant women. Multivitamins are an excellent way to get at least some of the necessary vitamins and minerals. They're crucial for pregnant women since their bodies are working hard to grow babies.

Prenatal vitamins come in many forms (tablets, gummies, powders, etc.). Some people prefer liquid versions because it's easier on the stomach when you're nauseous or just not feeling well. If you have digestive issues like heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ask your doctor before taking any multivitamins that do not have enteric coatings (these coatings prevent stomach acid from breaking down the active ingredients). You may also want to consider taking a probiotic along with your multivitamin and eating yoghurt with live cultures every day—this will help populate your gut with beneficial bacteria that can help fight infections and keep things moving smoothly through your digestive system!

Orange juice

When you are pregnant, drinking orange juice is generally considered safe. Still, you should ensure that the juice you consume has been pasteurized and fortified with calcium. Consuming this is especially beneficial for you if you already have high blood pressure or if your obstetrician has informed you that you are at risk for high blood pressure, also known as preeclampsia, throughout the course of your pregnancy.

Final words

Here are the key takeaways you should always remember:

Prenatal vitamins are essential to your health and the health of your baby. They help you get the nutrients you need and prevent birth defects. You should always take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, but if you're not pregnant or breastfeeding, it's important to take them for other reasons.

Prenatals contain folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and sometimes other ingredients like fish oil capsules. These nutrients will help make sure that your muscles remain healthy and strong, which is especially important if you have a long labour or difficult delivery. Iron helps keep up with blood production throughout your pregnancy so that your body can support both the growth of your baby and milk production afterwards. Calcium helps strengthen bones in preparation for labour and delivery. Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle strength as well as mood regulation (since it helps regulate serotonin levels). Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, which is useful when your body needs all its resources focused on giving birth safely!

The best way to get enough vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy is to eat foods with a balanced diet and plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Depending on your birth history, your midwife or doctor might recommend taking extra folic acid. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have questions about which pregnancy supplements are essential during the prenatal period. Too much vitamin might result in an overdose and affect the healthy growth of your baby.

In case you need further clarification about the right vitamins and supplements for pregnancy, you can learn more about them by clicking here.

Share article