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What Vitamins Are Important During Pregnancy

Taking Extra Folic Acid

The Importance of Vitamins Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Your midwife or GP may ask you to take a larger amount of folic acid if:

  • youve had a baby with a neural tube defect before
  • someone in your close family has a neural tube defect
  • youre taking medicines for epilepsy
  • you have diabetes
  • youre overweight and your body mass index is 30 or more
  • you have sickle-cell anaemia or thalassaemia

Supplements For Pregnancy: The Most Important Ones To Take

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While most people are familiar with the idea of taking a prenatal vitamin, knowing what supplements to take during pregnancy and which pregnancy supplements are best can be incredibly overwhelming.

With the rise in direct-to-consumer supplement companies and brands advertising through social media, its easy to get caught up in the marketing hype of supplements for pregnancy. While your health practitioner may have specific recommendations for you personally, more often than not women are told to just pick one when it comes to supplementing during pregnancy without any real guidelines on how to choose.

As a side note, I always recommend discussing any supplements you plan to take with your trusted provider. The recommendations I make below are general advice and may not be specific to your medical conditions or individual needs.

There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the best pregnancy supplements: 1). Ingredient quality, or what is actually included in the supplement, and 2.) Understanding your individual needs. Dont worry, well decode both below.

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Health professionals recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy to ensure the health of both mother and baby. Even so, many healthcare providers also strongly recommend taking prenatal vitamins when pregnant as well.

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What Are Neural Tube Defects

Neural tube defects are birth defects that involve incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord. The most common neural tube defects are:

  • spina bifida: when the spinal cord and spinal column don’t completely close
  • anencephaly: a severe underdevelopment of the brain
  • encephalocele: when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin through an opening in the skull

All of these defects happen during the first 28 days of pregnancy usually before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

That’s why it’s so important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folic acid not just those who are trying to become pregnant. Half of all pregnancies are not planned, so any woman who could become pregnant should make sure she gets enough folic acid.

It’s not clear why folic acid has such a profound effect on the prevention of neural tube defects. But experts do know that it’s vital to the development of DNA. As a result, folic acid plays a large role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation.

What Is Nutrition And Why Is It Important During Pregnancy

11 Important Vitamins for Pregnancy

Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need so they can function and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.

When you’re pregnant, nutrition is more important than ever. You need more of many important nutrients than you did before pregnancy. Making healthy food choices every day will help you give your baby what he or she needs to develop. It will also help make sure that you and your baby gain the proper amount of weight.

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Essential Vitamins And Minerals In Pregnancy

Good nutrition in pregnancy is vital for the healthy growth and development of your baby. You need to consume enough nutrients to meet your baby’s needs, as well as your own.

When you’re pregnant, you need more of some nutrients, including protein, folate, iodine and iron.

Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are also particularly important since they support the development of the baby’s nervous system and skeleton . Adequate vitamin C intake also helps improve the adsorption of iron from your diet.

Talk To Your Health Care Provider Before Starting Prenatal Vitamins

If youre standing in the supplements aisle of your pharmacy or health food store, you may be overwhelmed with your options.

There are various prenatal vitamins to choose from, but its important to review your prenatal supplement choices with your health care provider to ensure there isnt too much or too little of something your body may or may not need, said Christina Valentine, MD, medical director of the perinatal nutrition program and neonatologist with Banner University Medical Center Tucson.

Your provider will review your health history, diet or bloodwork to determine what additional vitamins or minerals to supplement with. Its also important to eat a well-balanced diet to make sure youre getting all the good stuff your body and baby need.

Women who are vegetarians should also consult with a registered dietitian to ensure complete protein, folic acid, iron, B12 and DHA are adequate, Dr. Valentine noted.

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Vitamin D In Pregnancy

You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .

It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.

Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:

  • oily fish
  • eggs
  • red meat

Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.

Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

Vitamins Are Important Postpartum As Well

Study: Taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy could reduce recurrence of autism

While there are clear benefits for taking a prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy, there is also significant evidence that prenatal or postnatal vitamins may help even after delivery with things like improving the nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers, preventing anemia and calcium deficiencies and enhanced energy and better mood regulation.

Some women, such as those with a vegetarian or vegan diet, may not get adequate nutrients through diet alone and may be at greater risk for deficiencies.

Most health care providers recommend taking a prenatal vitamin as long as you are breastfeeding to ensure your baby continues to get sufficient nutrients like A,D and B vitamins, DHA and iodine, Dr. Valentine said. If not breastfeeding, then the general recommendation is to continue taking them a minimum of 6-8 weeks postpartum while your body is healing.

Talk to your health care provider about whether youd benefit from taking prenatal or postnatal vitamins after delivery.

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When Should I Start Taking Folic Acid

Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.

If you talked to your doctor when you were trying to conceive, they probably told you to start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. One study showed that women who took folic acid for at least a year before getting pregnant cut their chances of delivering early by 50% or more.

The CDC recommends that you start taking folic acid every day for at least a month before you become pregnant, and every day while you are pregnant. However, the CDC also recommends that all women of childbearing age take folic acid every day. So you’d be fine to start taking it even earlier.

If you picked out your own prenatal vitamin, take it to your OB once you’re pregnant to make sure it has the recommended amounts of everything you need, including folic acid. All prenatal vitamins are not the same and some may have less or more of the vitamins and minerals you need.

When Should I Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin

In an ideal situation, you should take your prenatal vitamins before you even start trying to have a baby: neural tube defects often occur within the first month of pregnancy. Many women won’t even realize they’re pregnant until around six weeks or so.

If you’re unable to start taking prenatal vitamins before your pregnancy, you should do so as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins throughout your pregnancy to ensure healthy prenatal development. If you plan to breastfeed, the nutrients in your prenatal vitamins will support your body’s milk production.

Both you and your baby need essential nutrients during your pregnancy, and the foods you eat aren’t enough to meet those minimum requirements. Prenatal vitamins are critical in providing you and your baby with everything you need for healthy prenatal development.

Do you have a question about prenatal vitamins or want to share your favourite brand? Leave us a comment below!


The information provided represents the general opinions of NTD Eurofins and is not intended to be used as specific advice for any one individual. Individuals should always consult with a physician to obtain specific advice and to receive answers to any and all questions or concerns related to health, wellness, pregnancy, and birth.

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Magnesium For Muscle Pain

One of the most annoying side effects of pregnancy is dealing with the aches and pains involved, especially in the later weeks when the baby is gaining the most weight. Magnesium, another mineral, is a recommended supplement to help alleviate back pain, muscle aches, and leg cramps during this time.

Other Supplements In Pregnancy

11 Important Vitamins for Pregnancy

Other than folic acid, iodine and any supplement prescribed for you by your doctor, there is limited evidence to support the use of supplements during pregnancy.

Emerging research has shown that omega-3 supplements during pregnancy might help reduce the risk of premature birth, and that probiotics might help control blood glucose levels in pregnancy. But it’s not clear whether the benefits of taking these supplements outweigh any possible harms. Until there is better evidence available, it’s best to avoid them â particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Because nutritional supplements are classed as ‘complementary medicines’, they are not scrutinised or regulated as much as other medicines.

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Pregnancy Vitamin Supplement Products:

Mentioned below are some of the best pregnancy vitamin supplements in the market that expecting mothers can rely on.

1. Nature Made Prenatal Multi + Dha, 200 mg, 150 Soft Gels:

This product blends all the nutrients of a prenatal multivitamin and 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acid DHAinto one soft gel.It is ideal for expectant mothers who are looking for prenatal supplements. It includes the essential omega-3 fatty acid DHA and requires you to have only 1 dose per day. This formula contains key vitamins, minerals and DHA for the health of the mother and the babys development. It has the best vitamins for pregnancy.

2. One-A-Day Womens Prenatal, with DHA:

One A Day Womens Prenatal is replete with Omega-3 DHA and essential nutrients like folic acid and iron and is one of the most complete multivitamins available in the market. The DHA is to help support healthy fetal brain and eye development. Folic Acid reduces the risk of the baby having brain or spinal cord birth defect. Iron helps carry oxygen to the fetus in pregnant women. This vitamin supplement provides nutrition at three stages- while trying to conceive, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It provides the necessary vitamins during pregnancy.

3. Home Check Prenatal Vitamins for Women Supplement:

4. Garden of Life Vitamin Code, Raw Prenatal:

5. Natures Bounty Folic Acid , Unflavored 250 Tablet:

6. 21st Century Prenatal with DHA, Tablets and Soft Gels, 120-Count:

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Which Nutrients Impact Prenatal Development Most In A Prenatal Vitamin

Four micronutrients are critically important to prenatal development. The first is folic acid because it supports your baby’s brain and spinal cord development and prevents neural tube defects in your developing baby.

Calcium is essential during pregnancy because, just like you, your baby needs calcium to grow strong bones and teeth. If you aren’t getting enough calcium, your growing baby will take it directly from your bones, putting you at risk for osteoporosis later in life.

Iron ensures proper blood oxygenation and that your blood is supplying your baby with all the oxygen he or she needs to grow healthy and strong. Iron can also prevent you from developing anemia, which will make you feel even more fatigued than you already do!

Iodine is another essential nutrient for prenatal development that helps develop your baby’s brain and nervous system and regulates your baby’s metabolism.

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Monday 14 August 2017

Once you get pregnant, youre likely to be bombarded with advice from everyone you know . From what you should eat and drink, to what to expect from pregnancy and birth, or what products to buy and what to run from chances are there is a lot of well-meaning but overwhelming advice coming your way.

One thing that expecting mothers might hear about is supplements. Below, weve listed the supplements pregnant women should be taking during pregnancy and why.

Research Says Multivitamin And Mineral Preparations Promoted For Use During Pregnancy Are Unlikely To Be Needed

Most Important Supplements During Pregnancy

No need to take supplements if the content of your fridge looks like this

Any woman who has been pregnant will remember how much effort she put into eating a healthy diet. Many expectant mums also turn to prenatal supplements to optimise their chances of producing a healthy baby and, in later years, a more intelligent child.

But experts now warn that many of these daily vitamins are of little or no use.

The Australian research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found there was little evidence of benefit after half of the women were given daily supplements while the others took a placebo.

Once the pregnancies were over, the babies were tested at regular intervals until they were seven years old. Results showed no difference between the childrens general intelligence, language skills or overall level of IQ, whether or not their mother had taken supplements while pregnant.

No evidence

These latest findings back up other research , which found no evidence that pregnancy supplements improve the health of women or their babies.

Researchers concluded that for most women who are planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant, complex multivitamin and mineral preparations promoted for use during pregnancy are unlikely to be needed and are an unnecessary expense.

Fergal Malone, head of RCSIs Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Master of the Rotunda Hospital, echoes this advice.

Negative effect

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Folic Acid Calcium Iodine And Iron

Folic acid

If getting pregnant is a possibility for you, you should take folic acid. It can prevent birth defects that affect the babys brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop early in pregnancy, before many women know theyre pregnant half of all pregnancies are unplanned. This is why doctors recommend that any woman who could get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

If youve had a baby with a neural tube defect you should talk with your health care provider about folic acid. Studies have shown that taking a larger dose at least one month before and during the first trimester may help if youve had a baby with this defect. But talk to your doctor about whats right for you.

Foods that have folic acid include:


Iron helps your body make more blood red cells. These blood cells carry oxygen to the baby that it needs to develop.

Folic Acid Before And During Pregnancy

Its important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.

If you did not take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.

Try to eat green leafy vegetables which contain folate and breakfast cereals and fat spreads with folic acid added to them.

It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for a healthy pregnancy from food alone, which is why it’s important to take a folic acid supplement.

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