Vitamins and nutrition during pregnancy

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Eating healthy, diverse pregnancy will get you all the vitamins and minerals you need. There are some vitamins and minerals especially important.

Woman taking vitamin

It is best to take vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, but when you are pregnant you will need to take some supplements.

Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any vitamin A supplements, because too much can harm your baby.

You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or your doctor may prescribe them for you. If you want to take folic acid or vitamin D from multivitamins, make sure that the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol).


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Pregnancy can deplete a mother’s iron stores. Therefore, it is important to have the right amount of iron to help build and maintain these stores. Low iron concentrations in the early stages of pregnancy are associated with premature birth and low birth weight.

The average requirement for iron in pregnancy is 22mg / day but some women will need 27mg / day or more. A mixed diet of animal and vegetable foods can help you achieve your iron intake. Better iron intake from animal feed compared to plant sources, and recommended diets based on Western diets.

Red meat is the best source of iron as well as a good source of protein and zinc. Other meats like chicken and fish also contain iron, but not as much as red meat. Iron can also be found in green vegetables, legumes and high-fiber breakfast cereals.

Adding a glass of fruit juice or foods rich in vitamin C (like tomatoes, broccoli or peppers) on a meal will increase the amount of iron that is absorbed by the body. In contrast, unprocessed tea, coffee and bran can inhibit iron absorption.

Some women may benefit from iron supplementation if they are deficient in iron, but it is best to take the medicine as advised by the doctor as the supplement may cause symptoms such as constipation and harmful effects. too much.


Folate is a B vitamin needed for healthy growth and development. Its requirements are increased during pregnancy for the normal development of the fetus. Full amount of folate helps prevent birth defects in children, such as spina bifida.

For more information, see folate and pregnancy.


Iodine is an essential mineral that we obtain from the food we eat. Babies growing in the womb, infants and young children are at greatest risk due to lack of iodine in the diet. Iodine is needed in very small amounts but is needed by the human body. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, regulating body temperature, metabolic rate, reproduction, growth, blood cell production and nerve and muscle function. Thyroid hormone is produced in the thyroid gland, in the neck.

Light to moderate iodine deficiency can lead to learning difficulties and affect the development of motor skills and hearing.

While seafood is a good source of iodine, the amount of iodine in other foods such as milk and vegetables depends on the amount of iodine in the soil.

Since all bread, in addition to organic bread, is iodized in Australia, most pregnant women should have sufficient iodine. However, it may not be enough to meet the additional needs of pregnancy and breastfeeding. The government recommends pregnant women to take iodine supplements of 150 micrograms a day. Women with pre-existing thyroid problems should talk to their doctor before taking supplements.


Zinc is a component of various enzymes that help maintain the structural integrity of proteins and help regulate gene expression, so getting enough is especially important for fast cell growth that occurs in the womb. Period. The average requirement for zinc in pregnancy is 9mg / day but some women will need 11mg / day or more. Zinc can be found in lean meat, whole grains, milk, seafood, legumes and nuts.

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