Benefits Of Vitamin C During Pregnancy
In general, Vitamin C provides multiple health benefits, such as supporting your healthy immune system, working as an antioxidant by helping to neutralize damaging free radicals in your cells, and as an enzyme cofactor, assisting in reactions such as making collagen and carnitine. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of Iron.2,
But its also important to know that additional benefits of Vitamin C during pregnancy exist, too. As mentioned above, the body needs Vitamin C to produce collagena part of skin, blood vessels, tendons, and bone. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals before they can damage cells. Finally, pregnant women need significantly more Iron during pregnancy as their blood volume increases.3 Additionally, Vitamin C improves the absorption of Iron from plant-based foods.2,
I’m A Vegetarian Should I Be Taking Any Additional Supplements
“Because vegetarians are not consuming animal products, the nutrients they tend to need are vitamin B12, zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids like DHA,” says greene. “Look for supplements that contain these vitamins plus DHA from algae, a vegetarian source, rather than from fish.”
Supplements During Pregnancy: Whats Safe And Whats Not
If youre pregnant, you may think that feeling overwhelmed and confused comes with the territory. But it doesnt have to be so confusing when it comes to vitamins and supplements.
If you did your extra credit work, we bet you already know that high mercury seafood, alcohol, and cigarettes are off-limits during pregnancy. What may surprise you is that some vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements should be avoided as well.
Information on which supplements are safe and which arent varies and can make things feel even more complicated. Weve got you, though.
This article breaks down which supplements are believed to be safe to take during pregnancy and why some supplements should be avoided.
Getting the right nutrients is important at every stage of life, but its especially critical during pregnancy, as youll need to nourish both yourself and your growing babe.
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When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before conception. Folic acid is especially important. You should begin taking a folic acid supplement at least 1 month before you try to get pregnant to prevent birth defects.
Some doctors recommend that all women who could have a baby take prenatal vitamins, even if they dont plan a pregnancy.
So What Is Recommended Then
You should be able to get the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy from eating a varied, healthy diet.
But the NHS currently advises all pregnant women also to take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy.
This is because studies show it may lower the risk of certain neural tube defects your baby could develop, such as spina bifida. of folic acid.)
Its also advised that pregnant women take a daily 10 microgram dose of Vitamin D. .
Both folic acid and vitamin D tablets, suitable for pregnant women, are available in good pharmacies and supermarkets at a considerably lower cost than multivitamin supplements. You may also be able to get them on prescription from your GP or through the Healthy Start scheme.
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Taking Extra Folic Acid
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
Can You Take Vitamin C Supplements During Pregnancy
You might be wondering if it’s safe or necessary to take vitamin C supplements while pregnant, especially if you’re hoping to boost your immunity during cold and flu season. However, for most pregnant women, it’s relatively easy to get the recommended amounts of vitamin C through diet and a good prenatal vitamin.
The latest research on taking vitamin C while pregnant is mixed and limited, and the World Health Organization does not recommend adding an additional vitamin C supplement to your prenatal. If you’re concerned that you’re getting enough vitamin C through diet, ask your practitioner if a vitamin C supplement is right for you.
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What To Look For In Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins help ensure that you get the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. Look for prenatal vitamins that have: 400 micrograms of folic acid
400 IU of vitamin D
200 to 300 milligrams of calcium
70 mg of vitamin C
3 mg of thiamine
6 mcg of vitamin B12
10 mg of vitamin E
15 mg of zinc
17 mg of iron
150 micrograms of iodine In some cases, your doctor will give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin.
Vegetarian Vegan And Special Diets In Pregnancy
A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should provide enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy.
But you might find it more difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12.
Talk to a midwife or doctor about how to make sure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients.
If you’re vegan or you follow a restricted diet because of a food intolerance or for religious reasons, talk to a midwife or GP.
Ask to be referred to a dietitian for advice on how to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.
Find out more about healthy eating if you’re pregnant and vegetarian or vegan.
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Pregnant Women Can Follow The Dietary Recommendations
Your energy needs will gradually increase during pregnancy and should be met by eating foods which contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Pregnant women can follow the same dietary recommendations as the rest of the population. Your diet should be varied, mainly plant-based, and contain all the nutrients that you and your baby need.
A healthy diet should include:
- coarse grain products
- beans, lentils and peas
You should also try to limit the amount of processed meat, red meat and foods which contain a lot of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
It is a good idea to look for products marked with the Keyhole symbol. These products contain less fat, salt and sugar and more fibre than other products of the same type.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is particularly important that you monitor your diet closely and make sure you take in the nutrients you need.
Even if you have a healthy and varied diet, you should still take supplements of certain vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C In Pregnancy
Vitamin C protects cells and helps keep them healthy.
It’s found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, and a balanced diet can provide all the vitamin C you need.
Good sources include:
- soya drinks with added calcium
- bread and any foods made with fortified flour
- fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards
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Important Vitamins And Minerals For Pregnant Women
Even if you have a healthy and varied diet, there are certain vitamins and minerals you should monitor particularly closely to make sure you meet both your own needs and those of your baby.
Most people need supplements of one or more vitamins and minerals, and one solution may be to take a multi-vitamin mineral tablet daily as soon as you start trying to become pregnant or as soon as possible after you have found out that you are pregnant.
The best and safest thing is to take a supplement which contains approximately the recommended intake of the various vitamins and minerals. Avoid high doses of vitamins and minerals, unless they are recommended by a doctor.
The Best Vitamins To Take While Pregnant
Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, shares recommended vitamins to take while pregnant. Plus: additional supplements for a healthy pregnancy, other prenatal nutritional needs, and vitamins to avoid during pregnancy.
Is it safe to take vitamins during pregnancy? How about while breastfeeding?
These are two of the most common questions that dietitians get from expectant and new mothers. Its no secret that proper nourishment can better optimize your pre and postnatal care. But exactly which vitamins and supplements should you take during pregnancy?
In this article, were bringing things back to science-backed basics. When it comes to supplements and pregnancy, heres the information you need to have a safe and healthy term.*
*This information should not be used in lieu of professional medical advice. Always follow guidance from your OB-GYN and/or primary care physician.
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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folic acid may help prevent major birth defects of the fetuss brain and spine called neural tube defects .
When you are pregnant you need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day. Because its hard to get this much folic acid from food alone, you should take a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms starting at least 1 month before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Women who have had a child with an NTD should take 4 milligrams of folic acid each day as a separate supplement at least 3 months before pregnancy and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. You and your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider can discuss whether you need to supplement with more than 400 micrograms daily.
Iron is used by your body to make the extra blood that you and your fetus need during pregnancy. Women who are not pregnant need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need more, 27 mg per day. This increased amount is found in most prenatal vitamins.
Calcium is a mineral that builds your fetuss bones and teeth. Women who are age 18 or younger need 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Women who are 19 or older need 1,000 mg per day.
Give you energy
Supply energy for your fetuss development
Promote good vision
Where To Get Pregnancy Supplements
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.
If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .
You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme.
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Herbal Supplements Can Help With Ailments With Caution
In addition to micronutrients, herbal supplements are popular.
One 2019 study found that 15.4 percent of pregnant women in the United States use herbal supplements. However not all disclose to their physicians theyre taking them.
While some herbal supplements may be safe to take during pregnancy, there are far more that might not be.
Although some herbs can help with common pregnancy ailments like nausea and upset stomach, some may be harmful to both you and baby.
Unfortunately, there isnt much research regarding the use of herbal supplements by pregnant people, and much is unknown about how the supplements can affect you.
The safest bet? Keep your doctor in the know about any and all changes to your eating plan and supplements.
Are All Prenatal Vitamins Pretty Much The Same
No. Prescription vitamins are regulated by the Food and Drug administration, but they’re not required to contain certain nutrients. “There are many different formulations available, with different concentrations of each nutrient,” says Kukreja. Some have a little of everything others contain only a handful of nutrients. If you have special health considerations, your OB may suggest a supplement with added nutrients to meet your needs.
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Vitamins To Avoid During Pregnancy:
Vitamins although play a crucial role during pregnancy, might lead to birth complications when not taken in recommended doses. It is extremely important to consult your doctor to understand what vitamins you need and what you SHOULD NOT take:
1. Vitamin A:
Over dosage of Vitamin A can lead to toxicity of liver and cause death. It is extremely important to take only the permissible dosages of 770mcg per day.
2. Vitamin D:
The most toxic vitamins of all, Vitamin D over dosage can adversely affect the health of the mother and birth defects in the baby
Other Vitamins like B6 and E can lead to side effects when taken in extra dosages, but do not have any major threatening factors.
What Is Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects . Some studies show that taking folic acid may help prevent heart defects and birth defects in your babys mouth .
- Before pregnancy take a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid every day.
- Take a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid each day, even if youre not trying to get pregnant.
- During pregnancy, take a prenatal vitamin each day that has 600 mcg of folic acid in it.
Check the product label to see how much folic acid is in it.
If youre at high risk for having a baby with an NTD, talk to your provider about how you can safely take 4,000 mcg of folic acid each day to help prevent an NTD. Start taking 4,000 mcg at least 3 months before you get pregnant and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Youre at high risk if:
- Youve had a pregnancy with an NTD in the past.
- You or your partner has an NTD.
- Your partner has a child with an NTD.
Dont take several multivitamins or prenatal vitamins. You can get too much of other nutrients, which may be harmful to your health. Your provider can help you figure out the best and safest way for you to get the right amount of folic acid.
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Supplements To Avoid While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
While the vitamins and supplements above are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, others should be avoided.
Certain vitamins, plants, and herbs can potentially be harmful while pregnant or breastfeeding. Thats why you must always let your doctor know about any supplements you take.
What Does The Latest Study Say Exactly
The researchers, whose conducted a thorough review of all available studies on this subject, found that theres no evidence to recommend that all pregnant women should take prenatal mutli-nutrient supplements beyond the nationally advised folic acid and vitamin D supplements both of which can be bought separately and inexpensively.
In other words, according to the researchers, special pregnancy multivitamins often containing a combo of B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, iodine, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium and folic acid offered no discernible extra health benefit to a pregnant woman or her baby.
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Safe Medications During Pregnancy
It might seem easy enough to give the advice to just never take any medications in pregnancy, just in case. But for most of us, thats not realistic advice. You may need meds to manage chronic conditions or for illness that arises during your pregnancy.
Fortunately, there are a great many safe medications that you can take during pregnancy, should you and your doctor determine that you need them. For starters, always tell your healthcare providers about any medications you are already taking. Discuss together any medication youre thinking of starting, so you can be sure its safe, not only for pregnancy but also in conjunction with your other medications.
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.
- folate helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida when taken at least 1 month before conception and throughout the first 3 months of pregnancy
- iodine is needed for brain and nervous system development
- iron helps prevent anaemia in the mother, as well as low birth weight in the baby
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.
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Should Women Take Supplements While Pregnant
It seems there’s an endless amount of online information related to what supplements a woman should take when pregnant. As a result, searching for reliable information related to supplements during pregnancy can be difficult at best.
Here’s a Q& A with some advice on which supplements you can use and those you should avoid during your pregnancy:
Are dietary supplements OK during pregnancy?
It’s recommended that women should not use dietary and herbal supplements during pregnancy. In addition, dietary and herbal supplements should be used with caution in women of reproductive age due to the risk of taking these supplements before knowledge of pregnancy.
Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness. As a result, they may contain contaminants, like metals, pesticides, chemicals or bacteria, which may pose risks for pregnancy. Also, most supplements are not thoroughly studied, which can lead to issues related to quality standards for ingredients and strength. For example, vinpocetine an ingredient found in a number of dietary supplements, including those marketed for weight loss, enhanced memory, focus, mental acuity or increased energy is not safe during pregnancy. Other commonly used supplements that may cause harm during pregnancy include melatonin and St. John’s wort.
What about meal replacement shakes?
What supplements are OK to take?
What about vitamins during pregnancy?