While it’s easy to slip off the wagon when trying to eat a healthy diet, when pregnant, it doesn’t just affect you. Eating a healthy and varied diet is integral during pregnancy to ensure your body has the vitamins and minerals you need to support your baby’s growth and development.
When you find out you’re pregnant, there’s a whole world of dos and don’ts, other mother’s opinions, and contradictory medical advice.
To help you sift through the good and bad, we’re sharing this simple guide about what supplements are okay to take during pregnancy, which vitamins you need more of, and where you can find natural prenatal vitamins.
What vitamins should I take while pregnant?
When you find out the good news that you’re pregnant or you’re hoping to get pregnant soon, the first supplement you should consider is folic acid.
The recommended dose is 400 micrograms every day between day one and week 12 of the pregnancy. Folic acid will prevent developmental issues arising during the first few weeks of your baby’s growth. Folate can be found in foods like leafy greens and breakfast cereals, but it can be difficult to get the dosage you need from food alone.
Vitamin D is another recommended supplement to start taking during pregnancy. While it’s possible to get a good dosage of vitamin D from the sunshine, during the winter months, you should consider taking a 10-microgram supplement to keep your bones and muscles healthy by regulating phosphate and calcium.
You can also find vitamin D in red meat, eggs, and oily fish, so there are plenty of options to maintain a varied diet while also getting the nutrients you need.
If you already suffer from anemia, you will likely be taking an iron supplement. Those that don’t already have anemia could find themselves developing the disorder during pregnancy.
Iron can be found in leafy greens and lean meat or through nibbling on nuts and dried fruit when cravings kick in.
It can be dangerous to take in too much iron, so it is integral to take advice from your GP or midwife regarding iron supplements.
This vital vitamin helps to protect cells and keep you and your baby healthy. It’s quite easy to absorb vitamin C through a healthy diet including fruit juices, berries, and vegetables. It’s unlikely you’ll need to take an additional supplement to get the right dose.
Just like we’re told when we’re young, calcium makes teeth and bones grow stronger – especially for your new baby. You can get your daily dose of calcium through dairy products (or soy alternatives), leafy greens, and bread.
Where to buy pregnancy-safe supplements
When shopping for supplements, it’s vital that you look for the specific ones you’ll need. A multivitamin or cod liver oil, for example, could lead you to overdose on certain vitamins like retinol (vitamin A).
You can easily find supplements at the chemist or even in local supermarkets. Alternatively, specific vitamins may be prescribed by your doctor (though you may find the prices in store are much cheaper).
With any new supplement or dietary change, be sure to speak to your midwife or GP first.