Vitamins and Supplements during Pregnancy


Everything You Need to Know About Prenatal Vitamins

Health is an important thing for everyone. But no one understands this more than a pregnant woman. Pregnancy and vitamins go hand in hand. Since a balanced diet is a key to healthy living, prenatal vitamins help overcome deficiency that may be there in your diet.

Most Important Vitamins for Healthy Pregnancy

Three vitamins you are more likely to need are Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D.
Folate is a Vitamin B that your unborn child requires for proper growth in initial months. Proper and timely intake of folate can help prevent a variety of birth defects.
Vitamin C helps form collagen, which is important for blood vessels.
Vitamin D is what you need to make sure that your bones stay healthy and your child gets this vitamin from your diet. He/she needs this in the first few months of life.
Ideally, all these vitamins should come from your diet. However, during pregnancy, it’s likely that you would need more than what your diet can supplement. You can get all these prenatal vitamins off-the-shelf. However, it is highly recommend that you consult your doctor before taking these vitamins. Doctor can help you select the right dose and the best prenatal vitamin brands for your needs.

Vitamin A during Pregnancy: Caution

Vitamin A is bit tricky part in Pregnancy. The deficiency as well as the overdose of Vitamin A, both are harmful during pregnancy. The overdose can cause birth defects in child. It is best that you get the required level of Vitamin A through food and not through supplements. Make sure that any of your supplements does not have Vitamin A because this vitamin is not good your baby when consumed in high quantities. Click to read details about Vitamin A during pregnancy

Other Nutrients in Vitamin Supplements

Prenatal vitamins also have minerals, folic acid, iron, calcium, and iodine. Your baby requires all these for development. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects (related to spinal cord and brain) that are result of neural tube defects. Neural tube defects may happen in the first 28 days after conception, that is, before a woman knows she is pregnant.
Calcium, from prenatal vitamins, would help you take care of your bone density because your baby will use calcium for his/her bones. Iodine helps ensure healthy thyroid function for you. Acute deficiency of iodine can also lead to stunted growth and mental disabilities in baby.
Last but not the least, iron helps blood carry oxygen to you and your baby.

Read here detailed information about Nutrients during Pregnancy.

Can I take Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy?

If you are wondering if you can take prenatal vitamins while not pregnant, here is your answer. Many doctors prescribe this vitamin when women are planning for a baby. The most important Vitamin before pregnancy is Folate. The studies have shown that healthy level of Folate pre-conception has least risk of neural tube defects in baby. Second most important nutrient required preconception is Iron. The iron is building block of red blood cells. So multivitamins before pregnancy are good. (Please take advice from your doctor before you start taking vitamins if you are planning baby.)

Buying Best Prenatal Mulit-Vitamins for You?

When you look for prenatal vitamins, make sure that your vitamins give you the following:
• Folic Acid: 400 mcg
• Vitamin D: 400 IU
• Calcium: 200-300 mg
• Vitamin C: 70 mg
• Thiamine: 3 mg
• Riboflavin: 2 mg
• Niacin: 20 mg
• Vitamin B12: 6 mcg
• Vitamin E: 12 mg
• Zinc: 15 mg
• Iron: 17 mg
• Iodine: 150 mcg
Reference: WebMD
Note that these requirements are general/standard requirements. Discuss with your doctor if you need more or less quantities of all or any of these vitamins. Also, in some cases, Pregnancy vitamins may create nausea. If that is the case with you, discuss with your doctor. Doctor may prescribe you an alternative that will give you all the nutrition you want, minus the nausea.


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  4. Avatar

    No doubt vitamins are necessary for health. But I have heard that vitamin supplements are not good for baby and mom both. Are supplements necessary? Or we can avoid them by eating a balanced diet. Because I don’t want to take any vitamin supplements.

    • Sapana

      Vitamins and Supplements are not harmful for you or baby, else doctors would have never prescribed them. I will tell you my own experience. I was in Tokyo during my first pregnancy. I was told not to take supplements by Japanese doctors as they believe one must take all nutrients from natural sources before turning 60 years old. Your body must not learn to absorb ready vitamins from Chemicals. But I was told to take supplements during my second pregnancy in India. When I asked my doctor about why such difference of opinions, she told me that Indians dont eat all those healthy foods like Japanese do, like red meat, or Less cooked vegetables, seafoods everyday, hence such difference. So it depends on your diet and also your doctors opinion.

  5. Avatar
    Gareema Sharma on

    Me and my baby is completely fine. I am having a healthy pregnancy. Do I need to take these prenatal vitamins and supplements? Please suggest.

    • Sapana

      Hi Gareema,
      The Vitamin Supplements are not necessary. Its always better you eat healthy food to fulfill the need of nutrients. But you should take supplement if your doctor has told you to.

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