While some pregnant women are able to meet this demand through a well-balanced diet, others are not, hence, may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements.
The reasons that may lead you to require additional supplements include:
- Nutrient deficiencies: some may need a supplement after a blood test reveals their body is deficient of a certain vitamin or mineral.
- Hyperemesis gravidarum: it’s a complication in pregnancy characterized by severe nausea and vomiting and can lead to loss of weight and nutrient deficiencies.
- Poor diet: women who do not choose the right nutritional foods may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to avoid deficiencies.
- Smoking: mothers who continue to smoke during pregnancy have an increased need for specific nutrients like folate and Vitamin C.
- Multiple pregnancies: pregnant women carrying more than one baby have higher needs of micronutrients.
- Dietary restrictions: women who are on a special diet including vegetarians may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies.
Safe Supplements to Take During Pregnancy
With the various types of micronutrient supplements available on the market today, it is best to first consult your doctor to ensure that even if you need them, you get the right type and in the right amounts.
Here are some of them:
These are multivitamins specially formulated to meet the increased demand for micronutrients during pregnancy and contain vitamins and minerals needed by an expectant mum. They should be taken before conception and during pregnancy and lactation.
It’s the synthetic form of folate and it is recommended that pregnant women take 600gm of folic acid per day to reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby with neural tube defects and congenital abnormalities like cleft lip and palate and heart defects.
Although adequate folate can be obtained through diet, many women don’t have enough folate-rich foods making supplementation necessary. One is advised to start taking this as they are trying for conception.
The need for iron increases significantly during pregnancy as it is critical for transporting oxygen and healthy growth and development of the foetus and placenta.
It is recommended that pregnant women take 27mg of iron per day which can be met through most prenatal vitamins.
Any pregnant woman should consult with her doctor regarding screening for Vitamin D deficiency and proper supplementation.
It is a mineral that plays a critical role in immune, muscle and nerve function. Its deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of chronic hypertension and premature labour.
Calcium supplementation is vital during the third trimester when foetal uptake is highest.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019