Eating a healthy, varied diet in pregnancy will satisfy most of the vitamins and minerals you need. There are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important. It is recommended to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but when you are pregnant you will need to take some supplements as well to make sure you get everything you need. It's recommended that you take:
10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and if you breastfeed
400 micrograms of folic acid each day – you should take this from before you are pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant .Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A (retinol), as too much could harm your baby.
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or your GP may be able to prescribe them for you. If you want to get your folic acid or vitamin D from a multivitamin tablet, make sure that the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol).
Folic acid is important for pregnancy as it can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. You should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant. If you didn't take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. You should also eat foods that contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), such as green leafy vegetables and brown rice. Some breakfast cereals, breads and margarines have folic acid added to them. Some women have an increased risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, and are advised to take a higher dose of 5 milligrams (5mg) of folic acid each day until they are 12 weeks pregnant. Women have an increased risk if they:
or their partner have a neural tube defect
have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
or their partner have a family history of neural tube defects
In addition, women who are taking anti-epileptic medication should consult their GP for advice, as they may also need to take a higher dose of folic acid.
If any of the above applies to you, talk to your GP as they can prescribe a higher dose of folic acid. Your GP or midwife may also recommend additional screening tests during your pregnancy.
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, these are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. You need to take vitamin D during your pregnancy to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life. You should take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed. In children, not having enough vitamin D can cause their bones to soften and can lead to rickets (a disease that affects bone development in children). Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Some manufacturers add it to some breakfast cereals, soya products, some dairy products, powdered milk, and fat spreads such as margarine. The best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on your skin. The amount of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D is different for every person, and depends on things such as skin type, the time of day and the time of year. However, you don't need to sunbathe: the amount of sun you need to make enough vitamin D is less than the amount that causes tanning or burning. If you have dark skin or always cover your skin, you may be at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency. Talk to your midwife or doctor if this applies to you.
If you are short of iron, you’ll probably get very tired and may suffer from anaemia. Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts contain iron. If you'd like to eat peanuts or foods that contain peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, you can do so as part of a healthy balanced diet unless you're allergic to them or your health professional advises you not to. Many breakfast cereals have iron added. If the iron level in your blood becomes low, your GP or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements.
Report this post
You must be a HealthShare member to report this post.
to your account or
now (it's free).