A Guide to Taking Vitamins and Supplements During Pregnancy
Adequate nutrition during pregnancy is absolutely integral to the healthy development of a baby. Maternal malnutrition can result in a number of undesirable consequences for both a mother and her developing foetus. Luckily, mothers-to-be are no longer solely reliant on food for their daily nutritional requirements.
There is a wide range of vitamins and supplements available on the market today. Some cater specifically to pregnant women and all are subject to extensive research and testing that guarantees both their safety and their efficacy.
Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9 that is converted to folate by the human body. Essentially, it is the man-made version of the naturally-occurring folate which can be found in a multitude of food sources such as leafy vegetables, asparagus, beans, breakfast cereals, tomato juice, and yeast. It can be challenging to meet your daily folate requirements with your food. Folic Acid tablets are a simple and safe solution.
Folate is likely the most important supplement to take while trying to fall pregnant and when pregnant. Medical professionals recommend consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid every day while trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It plays a crucial role in the prevention of certain spine and brain birth defects known as neural birth defects.
Iron deficiency in pregnant women is a global crisis. Research indicates that up to 52% of pregnant women suffer from anaemia – the term used to describe insufficient iron levels. Nuts, leafy greens, and lean meats are rich in iron. If you are feeling particularly fatigued during your pregnancy then you should consult your local GP or midwife. You may be anaemic and in need of iron supplements.
It is important to note that you cannot consume iron supplements in conjunction with calcium supplements, milk or caffeine as these will inhibit the uptake of iron. Consuming your iron with a potent source of vitamin C – such as a glass of fresh orange juice – optimises iron absorption.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common forms of deficiency worldwide. In the US, around 41.6% of adults are deficient and this number increases to a staggering 82.1% amongst African American adults. This essential vitamin is responsible for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These maintain the structural integrity of teeth and bones while promoting the development of muscles.
The amount of sun time that equates to a healthy vitamin D intake is a highly debated issue. It can be found in select food sources such as eggs, red meat, and oily fish – a clear challenge for vegetarian or vegan pregnant women.
Ideally, you need 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day, so you can signup to play now and stay healthy. Taking vitamin D during the winter months is particularly important due to the lack of sufficient sunlight. It should be noted that consuming more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D in a day could be harmful to both you and your developing foetus.