Which Vitamin Supplements Should I Take During My Pregnancy?
The Best Pregnancy and Prenatal Vitamins
Your pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can also be one of the most worrying.
As a mum-to-be, making sure that your growing baby is getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need is down to you and you alone — so, how do you know that they’re getting what they need?
There is a wide range of pregnancy vitamins out there, but which ingredients do you need to look for and take when pregnant?
Let’s take a look at the nutrients you’ll need during your pregnancy and which vitamin supplements you should be avoiding altogether during pregnancy.
What vitamin supplements should a pregnant woman take?
Your baby needs as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as you do, so you must eat a healthy and balanced diet throughout your pregnancy.
However, there are a few vitamins and nutrients you may need to take when pregnant, as you’re sharing them with your kiddo for the next few months.
You may want to start with a pregnancy multivitamin, like those from Vitabiotics Pregnacare, Seven Seas, or Conceive Plus, which are designed to provide all the nutrients you and your child need most.
Many parents choose these products because you’ll only need to manage one dose a day, which is perfect if you’re dealing with a bit of baby brain!
However, there are a few specific vitamins and minerals you should be making sure you get, no matter how you choose to take your vitamins, starting with folic acid.
Folic acid when you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Folic acid is an essential supplement to take during the first few months of your pregnancy and when you’re trying to get pregnant.
It helps your baby to develop a healthy spine, reducing their chances of developing a neural tube defect like spina bifida.
The NHS recommends that you should take 400mg of folic acid every day during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy and when you’re trying to conceive to help support your baby during their early development.
Does folic acid help you to get pregnant?
Although it’s recommended that you take folic acid when you’re trying to get pregnant, it won’t actually help you to conceive.
The reason you take folic acid when you’re trying for a baby is to make sure that the foetus gets enough of this essential nutrient from the moment sperm meets the egg.
Folic acid can support the development of your baby’s spine from the word go, so if you’re already taking supplements it will be ready and waiting in your system for your little one to make the most of it.
Do I need to take Vitamin D when I’m pregnant?
As well as folic acid, the NHS recommends that you should take a vitamin D supplement throughout your pregnancy.
Vitamin D is created by your body when sunlight hits your skin, so naturally, our lovely British weather can leave many of us without enough of this nutrient.
This is why the NHS recommends a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement to most people over the autumn and winter.
Vitamin D helps our body to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate it takes in, making it an essential nutrient during pregnancy, as your baby’s bones, teeth, and muscles need all the calcium they can get for healthy development.
Should I take iron tablets during my pregnancy?
Many women find that they benefit from taking iron tablets during their pregnancy, as it helps to give them more energy.
Some dietary sources of iron, such as liver, should be avoided during pregnancy, so sometimes you’ll need an iron supplement to make sure you’re getting enough.
Your body needs iron to create red blood cells, so if you’re not getting enough of it you can start to experience iron deficiency anaemia — a condition that causes tiredness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
The NHS recommends that adult women aged 19 to 50 need 14.8mg of iron a day and it’s often included in pregnancy multivitamins.
Can I take vitamin C while pregnant?
You can take vitamin C supplements during your pregnancy, and it’s another common nutrient in pregnancy vitamins.
Everyone loves a bit of vitamin C, mostly due to its reputation for boosting your immune system during cold and flu season, but you may not realise that it has an impact on your iron intake.
Vitamin C can help your body absorb iron, so taking it during pregnancy can be a great idea, especially if you’re at risk of an iron deficiency.
That being said, it’s important to make sure that you don’t take too much, as it’s found in a lot of the fruits and vegetables that make up a big part of a healthy diet.
Generally speaking, you should take less than 1,000mg of vitamin C a day, but make sure to speak to your healthcare team if you’re unsure.
Are there any pregnancy vitamins to avoid?
The most important vitamin to avoid during your pregnancy is vitamin A, which is also known as retinol.
Getting too much vitamin A, especially during the early stages of pregnancy, can cause birth defects or impact your baby’s development.
However, you’ll still need some vitamin A throughout your pregnancy, and you will usually be able to get enough from a healthy, balanced diet.
Multivitamins designed for use during pregnancy usually don’t contain vitamin A, but most everyday multivitamins do, so you should check the nutritional values on any vitamins carefully before you take them.
You should also make sure to avoid cod liver oil and similar supplements, as they can contain high amounts of vitamin A.
If you're ever unsure about the supplements you’re taking, speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare team, they’ll be able to help you be sure that you’re taking the right supplements for you and your baby.