What Vitamins Are Needed During Pregnancy

Vitamin D In Pregnancy

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .

It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.

Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:

Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.

Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus . But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Key Nutrients You Need

According to ACOG, you and your baby need these key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:


Helps to build strong bones and teeth. Main sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, and sardines. During pregnancy you need 1,000 milligrams daily.


Helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby. Sources include lean red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals. During pregnancy you need 27 mg daily.

Vitamin A

You need this vitamin for healthy skin, eyesight, and bone growth. Carrots, dark, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes are good sources. During pregnancy you need 770 micrograms daily.

Vitamin C

Promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones, and helps your body absorb iron. Good sources include citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries. During pregnancy you need 85 mg daily.

Vitamin D

Aids your body in the absorption of calcium to help build your babys bones and teeth. Sources include exposure to sunlight, fortified milk, and fatty fish, such as salmon. During pregnancy you need 600 international units daily.

Vitamin B6

Helps form red blood cells and helps your body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates. You can find vitamin B6 in beef, liver, pork, whole-grain cereals, and bananas. During pregnancy you need 1.9 mg daily.

Vitamin B12

Helps form red blood cells and maintains your nervous system. You can find this vitamin only in animal products. Good sources include liver, meat, fish, poultry, and milk. During pregnancy you need 2.6 micrograms daily.


Pregnancy Vitamins And Nutrients

A balanced nutritious diet is the best way to receive the necessary vitamins and nutrients you need for pregnancy, but vitamin supplements can also be beneficial. Prenatal vitamin supplements are recommended plus any additional vitamins or minerals if your doctor finds any deficiencies. Remember, supplements do not replace a healthy diet, but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. And its important to note that pregnant women should take vitamin supplements onlywith a health care providers direct recommendation.

Don’t Miss: Can I Test Early For Pregnancy

Do I Need To Take Supplements

It’s recommended that all pregnant women in Australia take folic acid, iodine and vitamin D supplements.

Having a healthy diet is important and should provide you with the other nutrients you need. Check the Australian Dietary Guidelines for more advice. However, some pregnant women may need supplements of other nutrients besides folic acid, iodine and vitamin D.

If you have a known deficiency, your doctor might advise you to take a supplement. For example:

  • if you are vegetarian or vegan and not getting enough vitamin B12
  • if you don’t get enough calcium, which is vital for bone health, from dairy or other calcium-rich foods
  • if you are low in iron
  • if you may be low in omega-3 fatty acids, e.g. if you eat very little seafood

If you’re not sure whether you need a supplement, talk to your doctor.

Strength Of Recommendation To Provide Thiamine During Pregnancy

The Best Prenatal Vitamins of 2020  ReviewThis



We recommend that prenatal supplements contain approximately 6 mg of thiamine, and more may be needed pending further research. Women with intrauterine growth restriction may need additional thiamine, and in those cases, we recommend checking thiamine levels in blood cells, not plasma, since plasma was not sensitive. This recommendation may reduce the maternal glucose intolerance, risk of anencephaly, and intrauterine growth restriction/low birth weight, although more research is needed to verify these effects.

Comparison with commercial prenatal supplements

Thiamine is included in 85% of prenatal supplements when included, the median level is 1.8 mg . Only 16% meet or exceed our recommendation for Thiamine.

Read Also: Which Pregnancy Test Is Best For Early Detection

Do Prenatal Vitamins Help You Get Pregnant

Research shows that prenatal supplements have a beneficial impact on fertility, including increasing the chance of becoming pregnant and decreasing the time it takes to become pregnant .

Whats more, nutrient deficiencies can impact your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

For example, deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate can impact your ability to become pregnant .

Additionally, supplementing with a well-rounded prenatal that includes methylated folate and B12 may improve the effectiveness of assisted reproductive technology treatment .

Things To Know About Vitamins Before During And After Pregnancy

Getting the right nutrition and vitamins is important for your overall health at every stage of lifebut especially when youre pregnant.

So, how can you ensure youre getting the important vitamins and nutrients you and your future little one need? Prenatal vitamins may help.

If youre newly pregnant , discussing with your health care provider what vitamins your body may need during pregnancy is an important and easy step to take, for your health and the health of your baby.

Here are five things you need to know about vitamins and supplements before, during and after pregnancy.

Also Check: When Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms Start

Safely Supplementing Vitamins Needed During Pregnancy

Vitamins are found in nearly all foods, so as long as you are eating a reasonably healthy and balanced diet it is unlikely that you or your baby will suffer vitamin deficiency.

If you do need to supplement vitamins needed during pregnancy make sure you do so with the advice of your doctor and do not take any in excess as this can pose a risk to baby.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins needed during pregnancy. Your bodys need for it doubles while youre pregnant. Since your body does not store this vitamin, and as the kidneys excrete much more of this vitamin during pregnancy, you need a daily source of 400-800 micrograms.

Strength Of Recommendation To Provide Biotin During Pregnancy

Why is it important for a woman to take prenatal vitamins?



For US women we recommend that prenatal supplements contain approximately 100 mcg of biotin, although more research is needed. Women with bariatric surgery or major gastrointestinal problems may need an extra 50100 mcg of biotin, since normal gut bacteria produce a significant amount of biotin, comparable to dietary intake. This recommendation may reduce the risk of miscarriages and birth defects, but more research in human pregnancy is needed.

Comparison with commercial prenatal supplements

Biotin is included in 72% of prenatal supplements when included, the median level is 280 mcg of 17.5±3000 mcg. 43% of prenatal supplements meet or exceed our recommendation for Biotin.

Don’t Miss: How Long Till Pregnancy Symptoms Kick In

Vitamin A Supplementation Versus Placebo

Nine studies assessed vitamin A supplementation compared to placebo or no treatment . Of these, one study was excluded from meta-analysis because it reported no poolable outcomes, but was narratively synthesized . Thus, eight studies were included in the meta-analyses . Four of these studies were conducted in the sub-Saharan Africaof which, two were in Ghana , one in Malawi and one in Tanzania . From East Asia and the Pacific, two studies were conducted in Indonesia , and from South Asia, one study took place in Nepal , and the other in Bangladesh . Three studies provided supplementation from enrollment till the end of pregnancy , whereas, two studies provided supplements from enrollment until 6 weeks postpartum and 12 weeks postpartum , respectively, and one study did not indicate the intervention endpoint .

Vitamin A supplementation, compared to placebo, showed no impact on maternal mortality 0.90, 95% Confidence Interval 0.68 to 1.18 studies = 3 GRADE: low-quality evidence), nor any effect on the risk of stillbirths or maternal hemoglobin concentration . Supplementation may have improved maternal serum retinol concentration .

Forest plot for comparison vitamin A supplementation versus placebo/no vitamin A baseline to post-intervention for maternal serum/plasma retinol concentration .

No subgroup analysis for primary outcomes was possible for this comparison due to an insufficient number of studies per subgroup of interest.

Important Vitamins And Minerals Before Conceiving:

  • Folic acid is most important before conceiving, and in the early stages of pregnancy. This is when the bulk of neural tube formation occurs.
  • Zinc, vitamin D and iron are often deficient in adults and are useful in increasing fertility, so likewise, these would be very beneficial before conceiving to increase your chances of success as well as contribute to producing a healthy baby.

Don’t Miss: How To Tell If I M Pregnant

Most Important Prenatal Nutrients For Pregnancy

Youre essentially working overtime growing a little human being, and while a healthy, balanced diet is very much needed to ensure youre compensating for this additional energy expenditure, adequate supplementation is imperative to make sure youre meeting your higher prenatal nutrient needs. Lets look at the prenatal nutrients recommended in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy.

Supplementation does vary depending on the individual woman, and it is recommended that all supplements are approved beforehand by your doctor or medical professional.

Women Of Reproductive Age Need 400 Mcg Of Folic Acid Every Day

Best Prenatal Vitamins in Canada (2020 Reviews)
  • All women of reproductive age should get 400 mcg of folic acid every day to get enough folic acid to help prevent some birth defects because
  • About half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and
  • Major birth defects of the babys brain or spine occur very early in pregnancy , before most women know they are pregnant.
  • When taking folic acid, a higher dose than 400 mcg of folic acid each day is not necessarily better to prevent neural tube defects, unless a doctor recommends taking more due to other health conditions.
  • When planning to become pregnant, women who have already had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect should consult with their healthcare provider. CDC recommends that these women consume 4,000 mcg of folic acid each day one month before becoming pregnant and through the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Learn more about the recommended intake level of folic acid here.

Read Also: What Will Help Nausea During Pregnancy

Which Are The Best Vitamin D Foods And Sources

Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight between March and September . If you have dark skin or always cover your skin when outside, talk to your midwife or doctor as you may not get enough.

You can find vitamin D in foods like oily fish , eggs and red meat. For more on how much and which fish is safe to eat during pregnancy, see here. As vitamin D is only present in a few foods, supplements can be useful .

Iron And Folic Acid Versus Folic Acid Supplementation

Seven studies were included in the meta-analyses for iron and folic acid supplementation versus folic acid supplementation or placebo . Of these, three studies were conducted in the East Asia Pacific region, specifically in China , two studies were from sub-Saharan Africa , one from South Asia in Nepal , and one in Iran, the Middle East and North Africa region . Across all studies, similar formulations of IFA and FA were utilized, with the majority of studies providing 50 or 60 mg of elemental iron and one study providing 30 mg of elemental iron . Folic acid was typically provided in amounts of 400 µg, with two studies providing 5000 µg and another 1000 µg of folic acid .

IFA supplementation compared to FA, across five studies , showed a 48% reduction in the risk of maternal anemia in the third trimester of pregnancy . For the risk of low birthweight babies, a 12% reduction was noted across four studies . However, IFA did not reduce the risk of perinatal mortality .

Forest plot of comparison IFA versus FA supplementation/placebo, from baseline to post-intervention on the risk of low birthweight infants.

No subgroup analysis for primary outcomes was conducted for this comparison due to an insufficient number of studies per subgroup of interest.

Recommended Reading: Is Unisom Safe For Pregnancy

Why Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins

During pregnancy, there is so much going on in your body. A woman’s body must not only support itself through all the changes that pregnancy brings, but also support the baby growing in the womb. Because of this, many women need more vitamins than just what is found in their typical diet.

  • Folic acid: Helps support baby’s brain development and prevent neural tube defects
  • Iron: Helps make red blood cells, which are needed to carry oxygen to the baby
  • Calcium: Critical for preventing bone density loss in mothers which can occur as a baby requires the calcium for their own bone growth
  • Iodine: Critical for women’s thyroid function during pregnancy as deficiency may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, severe mental disability or deafness in the baby

What To Know About Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy

Why You Should Take Folic Acid BEFORE Pregnancy

Although the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, some women struggle to get enough, particularly moms-to-be who live in less-sunny climates or have darker skin.

While the fat-soluble vitamin can be tricky to find in food sources, taking your daily prenatal vitamin throughout pregnancy can help cover your vitamin D needs.

Unless you have a very severe vitamin D deficiency, youre unlikely to experience symptoms if your levels are low. But if you think you might not be getting enough, the best way to assess your vitamin D status is to get a blood test. Based on those results, your doctor will determine if it makes sense for you to take a supplement.

If you do have a vitamin D deficiency, your practitioner may recommend upping your intake with a daily dose of 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D, either in a supercharged prenatal or as another supplement.

As with all vitamins and supplements in pregnancy, you should never take anything without first discussing it with your practitioner. Some nutrients, including vitamin D, can be dangerous in very high doses.

Recommended Reading: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant With Nexplanon

Strength Of Recommendation To Provide Vitamin E During Pregnancy

Weak and not recommended .


Comparison with commercial prenatal supplements

Vitamin E is included in 94% of prenatal supplements when included, the median level is 30 IU . 61% of prenatal supplements meet or exceed our recommendation for Vitamin E. 20 had levels above 100 IU which may be a concern.

Vitamin D Supplementation Versus Placebo

Eleven studies were included in the meta-analyses for vitamin D supplementation compared to placebo or no vitamin D . More than half of the studies were conducted in South Asiaof which, two were in Bangladesh , two in Pakistan , and two in India . The other half of the studies were conducted in the Middle East and North Africa regionall of which were in Iran . Six studies provided vitamin D supplementation until the end of pregnancy , while three studies specifically stated that supplementation was provided for eight weeks , nine weeks , and 10 weeks from the time of enrollment, respectively.

Findings showed that vitamin D supplementation may have reduced the risk of preterm births by 36% , though the upper limit of the confidence interval just crossed the line of no effect . It was noted that studies that strictly gave vitamin D showed a greater reduction in preterm birth risk , compared to studies that provided additional supplements such as iron and folic acid .

Forest plot for comparison vitamin D supplementation versus placebo/no vitamin D on the risk of preterm births.

Vitamin D supplementation made no difference on the risk of infants born SGA , the risk of having a Caesarean section as a mode of delivery , or maternal serum/plasma calcium concentrations , but did significantly increase the vitamin D concentrations in pregnant mothers .

No subgroup analysis was conducted for this comparison as no primary outcomes were reported for this comparison.

Recommended Reading: What Year Will I Get Pregnant

What Nutrients Do Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Women Need

Here are some of the essential nutrients that will help you and your baby thrive. They’re found in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, dairy products, and lean meats. Your doctor may also recommend a daily prenatal multivitamin with iron.


Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth, and plays an important role in helping the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems work properly. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should get 1,000 mg of calcium a day. Healthy sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice and milk-alternatives, cereals, and kale.


Eating carbohydrates helps provide energy to support the growth and development of a baby and, after delivery, breastfeeding. The best sources of carbs are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which also are good sources of fiber. Try to limit refined carbs like white flour and white rice and added sugars.


Fiber is a nutrient that can help ease the constipation thats common during pregnancy. Whole grains and fruits, vegetables, and legumes are good sources of fiber.

Folic acid

Folic acid helps with the development of a baby’s brain and spinal cord. It’s also needed to make red blood cells and white blood cells. Women who get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before conception and during early pregnancy can reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a neural tube defect .

Healthy Fats




Vitamin A

Vitamin B12

Related Posts

Recent Stories