Taking multivitamins during pregnancy
Good nutrition during pregnancy is important for the healthy development of your baby. One of the ways to do that is taking multivitamins during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should be careful about the type of vitamins you’re taking and in what dosage.
In this blog, we look at what essential vitamins are recommended to take during pregnancy to give your baby the best start in life.
What are multivitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that your body needs in small amounts and can’t produce. Most of the vitamins you need will come from food, apart from Vitamin D which your skin makes from sunlight.
Your body needs a variety of nutrients to maintain good health and supplements are often taken in the form of capsules or liquid.
What multivitamins should you take during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, you need to consume enough of the right nutrients to help the growth and development of your baby, as well as help you. The core nutrients that you and your baby need include protein, folate and iron.
Folate, often referred to as folic acid in its supplement form, is a vital nutrient that helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Some women choose to take folic acid when trying to conceive. The recommendation is pre pregnancy folic acid is beneficial but don’t worry if you only start taking it once you become pregnant. It’s advisable to continue to take it until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Your health practitioner may also suggest that you take iron tablets if you have a deficiency. They will take a blood test to determine whether it’s required or not. Only take it if your health practitioner recommends it as more iron in your body could lead to unnecessary side effects such as severe constipation.
You may also wish to consider taking Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Studies show that they support the development of the baby’s nervous system and skeleton. B12 also helps when breastfeeding and you should aim to take 10 micrograms of Vitamin D per day.
Why is it important to take vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body is working hard to grow into a new human being. It takes a huge amount of effort, nutrients and energy to do that. By taking the right multivitamins and supplements, you’re not only being kind to your own body, but you’re supplying your baby with everything it needs to have a healthy start in life.
Multivitamins and supplements are not, however, a substitute for a healthy and nutritious diet. It’s important to eat healthily even if you’re taking prenatal multivitamins.
Can I get all the vitamins I need from food instead?
It’s recommended in the UK that all pregnant women take folic acid and Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D can’t be replicated via your diet as your skin makes it from sunlight.
There are some supplements you shouldn’t take however, these are Vitamin A, C and E. Also not taking any supplements that contain fish liver oil or cod liver oil tablets. Too much of it can be dangerous for your baby. Avoid foods such as liver and pate which include a lot of Vitamin A and don’t take Vitamin C supplements such as effervescent tablets.
Having a healthy diet should provide you with everything else you need, but it remains important to supplement your diet with the recommended nutrients.
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