Sometimes it isn’t easy to get all the vitamins and minerals you need whilst pregnant through diet alone. For example, to get the 400micrograms of folate recommended you would have to consume more than 200g of raw spinach. So due to the increased demand for the B vitamin, folate, it is recommended that pregnant women take a supplement. In a supplement folate is called folic acid; ideally you should take this up to 6 months before you fall pregnant until 12 weeks after giving birth.
Another supplement you should consider is Vitamin D. 10 micrograms are required each day throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and so supports your baby’s bone development.
Iron is also important and many pregnant women are deficient. Your doctor should test you for anaemia at your first antenatal appointment.
Vitamin C is a must as it helps keep body tissues healthy, although most women do get enough of this from the diet as most fruit and vegetables contain it.
Vitamins C, D and folic acid are all found in the healthy start supplements aimed at pregnant women although a general multivitamin would suffice as a less expensive alternative. Just be aware that supplements you take do not contain Vitamin A, as this can be harmful to a baby’s embryo development in high doses.
If you are in a low-income family or a single mum, speak to your doctor or antenatal health worker about getting help with the cost of supplements and nutritious food. You may be eligible to receive coupons, which can be exchanged for vitamin, and dietary supplements at a local chemist.