Pregnancy may come with numerous mental and physical issues for the expectant mother. Due to this, the expectant mother needs to take extra care of herself and her baby.
Not only this but the unborn child also requires nutrients and minerals from the mother. The mother could provide all such nutrients and minerals to the baby through the placenta.
So you might need extra minerals, nutrients and a healthy diet during pregnancy than you needed before. The consumption of prenatal vitamins and healthy foods could help you to receive all such nutrients.
But before consuming any prenatal vitamins, you should make sure that they have the required levels of different nutrients that you and your baby might need. You could even have a word with your doctor to suggest the required vitamins.
- 1 What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
- 2 6 Essential Vitamins & Nutrients During Pregnancy
- 3 Why Overdose Of Different Vitamins During Pregnancy Needs To Be Avoided
- 4 Final Words On Essential Vitamins & Nutrients During Pregnancy
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins include different multivitamins that may provide the required nutrients and minerals to pregnant ladies.
Prenatal vitamins are different from regular vitamins because they might provide additional nutrients required during the stage of pregnancy. Generally, your doctor or healthcare provider may even suggest prenatal vitamins.
Hence, you could always take these vitamins even while you are thinking to get pregnant. This may make you strong so that you can support your unborn child with the required nutrients.
Some of the pregnant ladies are even vegetarian or might have some food allergies due to which they cannot eat some specific food items.
Due to this, your doctor may even recommend you take additional supplements that can make up for the required nutrients.
A supplement is a product that might help you to gain all the additional nutrients which you could not receive because you do not eat the specific foods.
So you might be suggested by your doctor to take up the supplements for getting more calcium, vitamin D, or even iron.
6 Essential Vitamins & Nutrients During Pregnancy
Folic acid and folate
Folate is a type of B vitamin that might help to develop the cells in your body necessary for growth and development. The synthetic form of folate that is present in different fortified foods and supplements are known by the name of folic acid.
Folic acid has a plethora of benefits for the pregnant mother and her child.
First of all, Folic acid might help to reduce the risk of premature birth. Secondly, folic acid may even work to prevent neural tube defects or NTDs. The Neural tube defect might lead to several defects in the brain, spine and other parts of the baby.
Several pieces of research have even shown how folic acid could prevent several heart defects and even defects related to the baby’s mouth that is known as cleft lip and palate.
Generally, as a pregnant lady, you might require approx 400 to 1000 micrograms of folic acid before conception and even during pregnancy. You could find folic acid or folate in a number of food items. Some of the good sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, dried beans, citrus fruits, peas and even fortified cereals.
Besides getting folic acid from all these sources, you could also include a prenatal vitamin in your schedule.
Eating the prenatal vitamin before three months of conception may help you to receive all the essential nutrients.
CDC talks more about this one.
As a pregnant mother, you might require calcium for the strong bones and teeth of your baby and yourself. Not only this, but this mineral could also help in the development of the heart, nerves and muscles of your baby.
When you take the right amount of calcium during pregnancy, then it may even assist your body in circulatory, muscular, and nervous functioning.
During the phase of pregnancy, you might require approx 1000 milligrams of calcium on a single day. You could easily get this amount of calcium by eating different foods rich in calcium or by taking your prenatal vitamin.
However, if your body could not receive the required amount of calcium during pregnancy, then there might be a risk of osteoporosis in later life.
The different sources of calcium include dairy products, broccoli, kale and even certain fruit juices or breakfast cereals. You may even purchase orange juice that has calcium added to it, or eat cheese, yoghurt and milk.
More on calcium during pregnancy here.
Iron is an important mineral that is required by a body to make haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein that helps your body to carry oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body.
During pregnancy, the expectant mother provides the required nutrients and minerals to her child through the placenta. So you might need twice the amount of iron during pregnancy than you needed before to make up for all these extra activities.
This iron could be used by your body to create more haemoglobin so that it could help to carry the oxygen to your baby. Not only this, but the unborn child may even require iron to make haemoglobin.
Any deficiency of Iron during pregnancy might lead to a number of diseases and infections. You could get Anaemia due to less iron in your blood, or it might even increase the risk of premature birth.
The deficiency of Iron in pregnant ladies may even cause fatigue or result in lower birth weight of the baby.
Generally, you may require approx 27 milligrams of Iron in a single day during your pregnancy. You could get this amount easily from the different sources of Iron or even prenatal vitamins.
Some of the best sources of iron include leafy green vegetables, bread, cereal, poultry, seafood, nuts, lean meat, dried fruit, beans or even Pasta if it has Iron added to it.
Not only this, but the food items that have vitamin C might even augment the amount of iron in your body. So you could opt for foods like strawberries, tomatoes, orange juice and grapefruit every day to make up for the required amount of iron.
However, there are even some food items that might prevent your body from absorbing iron. These items could include tea, coffee, soybeans, egg yolks, etc. So you may try not to eat these food items while you are eating iron-rich foods.
Australian government website talks more about iron for pregnant women.
Iodine is another essential mineral that may be required by the body of a pregnant lady. This is because this mineral could help your body in the formation of thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones may stimulate your body to use the energy from food.
Using energy from food is very crucial during pregnancy. It could help to develop the brain, spinal cord and nerves of your baby or even assist the baby. to feel, think and move.
Generally, you might require approximately 220 micrograms of Iodine each day during pregnancy. However, all prenatal vitamins might not include iodine. So, you should strive to get iodine from its different food sources. In any other situation, you could even get an iodine supplement at the recommendation of your doctor.
Some of the best sources of iodine may include iodised salt, cheese, fish, yoghurt, milk, fortified cereal, or even bread that has iodine in it. Any deficiency of this mineral might increase the chances of miscarriage, deafness, stillbirth, ill mental health, and stunted physical growth.
Vitamin D performs a plethora of functions for the body of a pregnant mother. It might help in the development of the immune system, nerves and muscles of your body. At the same time, Vitamin D may even help your body to absorb Calcium.
Once your immune system is strong, it could help your body to prevent catching up any infections. Not only this, but vitamin D may even help in the growth of teeth and bones of your baby.
Generally, pregnant mothers might require 600 international units of vitamin D in a single day. This amount of vitamin D could be consumed from different food sources or even through a prenatal vitamin. Some of the good sources of vitamin D include milk, fatty fish like salmon or even cereal that has vitamin D in it.
This detailed article talks about Vitamin D supplementation during the full course of pregnancy and after pregnancy as well.
If you consume vitamin D in excess quantities, then it might augment the calcium level in your body. Once the level of calcium in your body is high, it could lower your appetite. Due to this, you might even face several other diseases and problems like vomiting, frequent urination, weakness, and in some extreme cases even heart attack.
The regular dosage of vitamin D during routine pregnancy could be about 400 international units of vitamin D along with calcium.
However, in situations, when the level of vitamin D is low and this vitamin is deficient, then you might augment the dosage of vitamin D to 1000 international units.
Besides the above-mentioned two conditions, there could even be a possibility when there is a severe deficiency of vitamin D. However, this situation is only verified through investigations like blood tests.
In such a case of severe deficiency, you might further bolster the dosage of vitamin D to 60,000 international units in a single week for approx 5-6 weeks.
You might always consume Vitamin A only after getting the prescription written by your doctor. The reason behind this is because an excess of vitamin A might cause several side effects to your body that could cause different liver-related diseases.
You should be very cautious while consuming Vitamin B1. Any excess of this vitamin could cause a plethora of diseases. It might lead to cracking of the skin, chest pain, breathing problems, and other skin allergies.
If you consume Vitamin B6 in excess amounts then it might bolster your sensitivity to sunlight and you may even experience body pain.
This vitamin is a crucial nutrient required for your body. You could get vitamin C from a number of citrus fruits. However, any excess of this vitamin in your body might lead to stones.
Omega-three fatty acids
Omega-three fatty acids are rich in EPA and DHA. Different researches and studies have shown how Omega three fatty acids could help in building the foetal brain and retina.
These fatty acids might even help in avoiding any perinatal depression and in determining the duration of the gestation. Generally, you could get omega-3 fatty acids from food sources like fish and nuts.
The omega-3 fatty acids may even lower the chances of having a baby with a lower birth weight.
However, if you do not eat fish or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, then you should ask your doctor to provide you with supplements for the same.
You might want to refer to this governmental article for more information.
Why Overdose Of Different Vitamins During Pregnancy Needs To Be Avoided
As mentioned earlier, it is very important to receive all the essential nutrients because you provide the required nutrients and vitamins to the baby through the placenta.
So, you should satisfy your baby’s requirements through your diet. For this, you might receive different vitamins through food items or even through various supplements. However, you need to make sure that you do not receive an excess of different vitamins that may cause different side effects.
Final Words On Essential Vitamins & Nutrients During Pregnancy
Thus, you can see the different vitamins that are required during pregnancy in this article.
However, if you take up all the necessary nutrients with the help of prenatal vitamins, then you must get recommendations from your doctor.
The best time to get all the nutrients from the prenatal vitamins is before conception. However, prenatal vitamins might even cause nausea.
So you could even include all the different vitamins in your diet with the help of different food items. But make sure to take up the necessary amount of each vitamin.