Knowing what are the best vitamins for pregnancy is key to making sure you and your baby are receiving the right support at every stage. From prenatal vitamins to postnatal vitamins and the best vitamins for pregnancy itself, let’s take a look at everything you need to know to provide both yourself and your baby with all the nutrients you need to thrive.
Whether you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, you’ve probably given some thought to taking either prenatal vitamins or vitamins in pregnancy itself. There’s a lot of noise out there about what makes the best vitamins for pregnancy, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help simplify your decision. Read on to find out which vitamins you should be taking before, during, and after pregnancy.
Every list of recommended prenatal vitamins will include folic acid, and for good reason. The NHS recommends that you take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from before pregnancy until you are 12 weeks pregnant. If you weren’t taking folic acid before finding out you were pregnant, you should start as soon as possible.
Taking folic acid as one of your prenatal vitamins can help to prevent the risk of birth defects in the early stages of the baby’s development. These are also known as neural tube defects, and include things such as spina bifida.
You can find folic acid in leafy green vegetables, breakfast cereals and fat spreads. However, it isn’t easy to get the recommended amount solely from food, which is why a supplement is advised.
If you have diabetes, have had a previous pregnancy impacted by a neural tube defect, take anti-epilepsy medicine, or take antiretroviral treatment for HIV, then it may be suggested that you increase your folic acid dosage. In addition, if you or the baby’s biological father have a neural tube defect or a history of them in the family, you may be advised to increase your folic acid dosage. Speak to your doctor if this relates to you to make sure you’re taking the right prenatal vitamins for your individual needs.
For the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it’s recommended that you continue taking a folic acid supplement to reduce the risk of issues in the baby’s development, but what else is on the list of recommended vitamins for pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it’s advised that you get your suggested dose of vitamin D each day. The recommended amount from the NHS is ten micrograms a day. Our bodies can produce vitamin D from sun exposure, which can be difficult during most of the year in the UK. If you do hope to top up your vitamin D from the sun, it’s vital to safeguard against sunburn.
So why is vitamin D important during pregnancy? Vitamin D controls the amount of phosphate and calcium in our bodies, which helps to maintain healthy bones, teeth, and muscles, making it one of the key vitamins for pregnancy.
Foods containing vitamin D include:
However, these only contain small amounts of vitamin D. If you’re struggling to reach your vitamin D target, a supplement is the best way to hit your target. Just be careful not to exceed 100 micrograms a day. Check out Nutrivitality’s vegan-friendly liquid vitamin D3 supplements.
Another often-recommended supplement in lists of the best vitamins for pregnancy is iron. Insufficient amounts of iron can lead to tiredness and, in some cases, anaemia. If iron levels in your blood become low, your GP or midwife will likely advise that you use an iron supplement.
Food sources of iron include lean meat, dried fruit, nuts, and leafy green vegetables, but taking an iron supplement can help to increase how much you’re consuming.
Before taking any new supplements or vitamins in pregnancy, always consult your GP or midwife.
Calcium is also one of the most important vitamins for pregnancy. It is essential to consume sources of calcium during pregnancy, as it plays a crucial role in the creation of your baby’s teeth and bones.
Calcium can be found in foods including:
Last on our list of the best vitamins for pregnancy is vitamin C, which helps to protect your cells and keep them healthy. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, supporting the immune system.
It’s easy to hit your recommended vitamin C levels through food, with sources including citrus fruits (e.g. oranges and orange juice), potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and both red and green peppers. If you want to supplement your intake with a supplement, check out our liquid vitamin C – but always speak to your GP or midwife before taking any new vitamins in pregnancy.
Taking postnatal vitamins is also important to support your health and wellbeing after birth, and to continue to support your baby if you are breastfeeding. Vitamin D is one of the most important postnatal vitamins to continue taking – it’s crucial to maintain the suggested daily dose of 10 micrograms of vitamin D to keep your levels topped up. In addition, if your baby is only being given breast milk and not formula, it’s highly recommended that you give your child a vitamin D supplement.
While there are lots of recommended vitamins for pregnancy, there are some that you should avoid too.
The NHS strongly advises not to consume cod liver oil or any supplement containing vitamin A during pregnancy. Too much vitamin A (also known as retinol) can harm your baby; you must always check the label before buying.
You should also be aware of the foods you should avoid during pregnancy. Check out the NHS guide to foods to avoid in pregnancy. If you’re unsure about anything that you’re considering consuming, food or supplement, you should always consult your GP or midwife for information.
Our recommendations for the best vitamins for pregnancy won’t necessarily be specific to everyone. It’s essential to eat a varied and healthy diet when pregnant to help you get the most vitamins and minerals. Your GP or midwife may also suggest other supplements depending on your individual situation. If you’re unsure about anything or have any special requirements, please always speak to your doctor about taking any supplements.
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