5 Most important vitamins during pregnancy

Pregnancy Supplements

Vitamins and Supplements during pregnancy

1. Folic Acid 

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that does not appears naturally in food however is often added to supplements and grain products( bread, cereals) it is also known as Vitamin B9. Folic acid is vital before and during pregnancy as it is responsible for the development of organs in baby but this is just one of its health benefits:

  • Decrease the risk of heart defects
  • Help prevent cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Reduce risk of neural tube birth defects
  • Protect against certain cancers
  • Lower homocysteine levels

All pregnant women should take minimum 400 mcg of folic acid a day, but it is recommended for all  women who are of childbearing age to prevent neural tube defects. You may also need extra doses of folic acid if you have:

  • sickle cell disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • drink alcoholic beverage
  • epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory or bowel disease

2. Iron

During pregnancy maternal blood increases by nearly 50% and therefore the need for iron. This mineral performs important functions in our body and its deficit can lead to anemia and many complications in pregnancy. Iron is responsible for: 

  • oxygen transport
  • healthy growth
  • development of the fetus and placenta     

Recommended dietary allowance of iron is 15 to 18 milligrams a day and while pregnant or nursing it daily dose should rise to 27 milligrams per day according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is vital for our body’s good functioning as it takes part in many chemical reactions in our organism. However, our body can’t produce it so we need to obtain it from out diet. It’s recommended dose for men is 400-420 mg and women 320-360 mg per day, it is achievable by eating magnesium-rich food or by taking supplements. Magnesium has a lot of health benefits:

  • helps reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • reduce risk of heart disease
  • improve migraine
  • reduce risk of depression

 The right amount of this mineral is also very important during pregnancy as it’s efficiency may increase the risk of:

  • Chronic hypertension
  • Premature labour
  • Fetal growth restriction

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone in our body. It is produced from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to sunlight but can also be found in fatty fishes and fortified dairy products. This vitamin is very important for:  

  • immune function
  • bone health
  • cell division

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can increase risk of: 

  • caesarean section
  • preeclampsia
  • preterm birth
  • gestational diabetes 

The recommended daily intake is around 400-800 IU but experts advice to get even more than that.

5. Fish Oil

Fish oil contains two fatty acids that are important for fetal brain development DHA and EPA and because of that reason it is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements. It provides many health benefits such as: 

  • support heart health
  • treat certain mental disorders
  • aid weight loss
  • support eye health
  • reduce inflammation
  • support health skin
  • reduce liver fat
  • improve symptoms of depression
  • improve bone health

Fish oil is very beneficial especially in pregnancy and while breastfeeding as it:

  • boost infant brain development
  • decrease maternal depression
  • protect against preterm delivery
  • benefit fetal eye development

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