The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit www.cgbabyclub.co.uk from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.

Pregnancy

      Pregnancy vitamins and supplements

      Researching

      What vitamins do I need to take during pregnancy?

      During the first few months of pregnancy your baby is rapidly developing. Your body will need some additional nutrients to help facilitate this growth and development phase. Generally speaking, a healthy and balanced diet can provide you with most of the nutrients that you need, although there are a couple of exceptions to this (vitamin D and folate).

      Which are the most Important vitamins during pregnancy?

      The table below (Table 1) summarises the most important vitamins to consume during pregnancy.

      Apple

      Table 1: Important vitamins for pregnancy1-3

      Vitamin   Recommended amount during pregnancy Role  Food sources
       Vitamin A

      700 micrograms per day

      Too much of the animal form of vitamin A (known as retinol) can be harmful to your baby. Therefore, vitamin A supplements are not recommended during pregnancy.

      Vitamin A is needed for eye health, cell growth and immune function.  

      You can get all the vitamin A that you need from a healthy diet.

      Animal Sources: butter, tinned salmon, cheese, eggs, full-fat milk, herrings and pilchards. 

      Non-Animal Sources: apricots, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, melon, carrots, mango, peach and tomatoes.

      Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 1.4 milligrams per day  Riboflavin helps the body to release energy from food. It keeps the skin, eyes and nervous system healthy.

      Animal Sources: cheese, eggs, lean meat or poultry, oily fish, milk and yoghurt.

      Non-Animal Sources:  almonds, fortified breakfast cereals, granary bread, mushrooms, soya beans and spinach.

      Folate (Vitamin B9) 400 micrograms per day Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects and cleft palate in babies. Broccoli, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, peanuts, peas, chickpeas and kidney beans.
      Vitamin D 10 micrograms per day Vitamin D helps with bone development for you and your baby.

      We get most of our vitamin D through a reaction that occurs when our skin is exposed to sunlight

      Food sources include: oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods

      Vitamin C 50 milligrams per day Vitamin C helps with skin and cell health. It’s also important for healthy immunity. Oranges, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

      Which are the most important minerals during pregnancy?

      The body needs small amounts of minerals which are responsible for the formation of your baby’s bones, body tissues and nerves. See the table below (Table 2) to find out which are the most important pregnancy minerals.

      Table 2: Important Pregnancy Minerals1-3

      Mineral Recommended amount during pregnancy Role  Food sources
       Iron

      14.8 milligrams per day

      Iron helps to produce red blood cells and supplies oxygen to the cells.

      Low iron levels in pregnancy has been associated with low birthweight.

      Animal Sources: beef, poultry, eggs, lamb, fish 

      Non-Animal Sources: beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, dried apricots, fortified breakfast cereals, lentils raisins, soya beans, spinach and tofu.

      Calcium 700 milligrams per day Calcium is important for bone health for you and your baby.

      Animal Sources: milk, cheese and yoghurt.

      Non-Animal Sources: green leafy vegetables, tofu, calcium fortified soya drinks, fish (where bones are eaten, such as sardines and pilchards).

      Iodine 140 milligrams per day Iodine plays an important role within the thyroid. It helps to control many body processes.

      Dairy Sources: butter, cheese yoghurt, milk, ice cream 

      Non-Dairy Sources: eggs, fish, shellfish 

      Zinc 7 milligrams per day Zinc helps with the development of the baby's organs, skeleton, nerves and circulatory system. 

      Animal Sources: tinned fish, cheese, eggs ham, milk, poultry and prawns  

      Non-Animal Sources: beans, lentils, bread, nuts, sesame seeds, tofu and wholegrain breakfast cereals. 

      Supplements to take during pregnancy

      Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals that you need during pregnancy. However, the NHS recommends two supplements to take during pregnancy. Speak with your GP or midwife about the Healthy Start vitamin scheme as you might qualify for supplements free of charge4.

      Folic acid supplements for pregnancy

      Folic acid plays a vital role in early pregnancy to prevent neural defects and may help reduce the risk of cleft palate2. Women are encouraged to take a 400-microgram folic acid supplement daily when planning a pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you did not take folic acid before becoming pregnant, try not to worry - start taking it as soon as you know you’re pregnant up until the end of your first trimester (1-3 months). 

      If you have any of the following conditions, talk with you GP or midwife as you may need a higher dose of folic acid5

      • Diabetes
      • Take anti-epilepsy medications
      • Take antiretroviral medications for HIV
      • You or the baby's biological father have a neural tube defect
      • You or the baby's biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
      • You have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect

      Vitamin D supplements for pregnancy  

      We get most of our Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Food sources contain some vitamin D too. During the autumn and winter months (October to April) it can be harder to meet our vitamin D requirements through sunlight alone. Pregnant women are advised to take a 10-microgram vitamin D supplement daily throughout pregnancy6

      Are there any supplements I should avoid during pregnancy? 

      High intakes of vitamin A should be avoided during pregnancy as it can be harmful to your baby. Multivitamins containing vitamin A and cod liver oil supplements should be avoided during pregnancy7

      How long do I need to take pregnancy vitamins for?

      Folic acid supplements should be taken daily for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as this is when your baby’s nervous system develops. If you are worried that your diet might lack foods which are rich in folate (such as green leafy vegetables and whole grain cereal), or if you are struggling to eat well due to nausea, it might be helpful to take a folic acid supplement for the duration of your pregnancy1

      Vitamin D supplements should be taken daily throughout pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding6. Speak with your GP or midwife for further information on this topic.

      To share your stories or look for some friendly advice on pregnancy vitamins and supplements join the C&G baby club today.

      1. National Health Service. Vitamins and minerals [Online]. Last reviewed 2020. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/ [Accessed: December 2020].
      2. De-Regil L et al. Effects and safety of periconceptional oral folate supplementation for preventing birth defects. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015;(12).
      3. British Nutrition Foundation. Nutrition Requirements [Online]. Last reviewed 2016. Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/234/Nutrition%20Requirements_Revised%20Oct%202016.pdf [Accessed: December 2020].
      4. National Health Service.  Healthy Start [Online].  Available at: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/ [Accessed: December 2020].
      5. National Health Service. Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy [Online]. Last reviewed 2020. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/ [Accessed December 2020]. 
      6. Davies SC et al. VITAMIN D - ADVICE ON SUPPLEMENTS FOR AT RISK GROUPS [Online]. 2012. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213703/dh_132508.pdf [Accessed: December 2020].
      7. National Health Service. Vitamin A [Online]. Last reviewed 2020. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a/ [Accessed: December 2020].
      pink laptop

      Join the club

      Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

      *Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.

       

      Join the club

      Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

      email-icon-white.png
      Helpful emails
      chat-icon-white.png
      Non-judgemental support
      broccoli-icon-white.png
      Free weaning plan*
      love-dont-judge-white.png
      Tips from real parents

      *Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.

       

      More from pregnancy

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.