Best Vitamins & Supplements to Take During Pregnancy – What’s Important?
Pregnancy places a high dietary demand on the body. During pregnancy, your baby is completely dependent on what you eat as his or her sole source of nutrition.
Even if you already consume a healthy diet, supplementing with extra specific nutrients can be highly important for you and your baby’s health. However, many women are justifiably unsure about which supplements, and vitamins are best to take, and why they are important.
Below we have listed 4 vitamins and supplements that are recommended to take during pregnancy.
Folic acid: Folate is required for a baby’s cells to divide during pregnancy, as well as for the development of their nervous system. It is within the first few weeks of pregnancy that the neural tube closes and fuses. Later, within pregnancy, it develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. As a result, a lack in folate can cause neural tube defects.
- Iron: During pregnancy, your body requires twice as much iron to produce more blood in order to supply oxygen to your baby. Iron deficiency in pregnancy heightens the risk of a baby having a low birth weight, as well as premature delivery. Moreover, iron deficiency can also affect the mother after pregnancy, as it may increase feelings of tiredness (which can reduce milk production), irritability, headaches, and decreased immune function. Moreover, iron deficiency may also increase the risk of postnatal depression.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for the absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus in the body, as well an unborn baby’s body. Calcium is needed to help strengthen the baby’s rapidly developing bones and teeth, as well as boost muscle, heart, and nerve development. Like calcium, phosphate also helps strengthen the baby’s bones. It is also incredibly important for many bodily functions such as clotting, kidney function, tissue and cell repair, muscle concentrations and a normal heart rhythm.
- Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for fetal development. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids, is a major structural component of the retina, the part of the eye that receives light and converts this light into neural signals to send to the brain, enabling you to see. Moreover, DHA is essential for the growth and development of the baby’s brain and forms an important part in the grey matter of the brain tissue. Ongoing research has shown that DHA can also prevent pre-term labor, increase birth weight, and reduce the risk of allergies in infants and the risk of their mothers developing antenatal and postnatal depression.
Sona PregnaPlan is a complete one-a-day multivitamin/multi-mineral containing 20 essential nutrients including folic acid, iron, vitamin D, and omega 3 and 6 to remove the guesswork surrounding vitamins and supplements in pregnancy.
- Ding, D., Lo, T., Wu, T., & Li, P. (2019). Effect of Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy on maternal and perinatal outcomes. Tzu Chi Medical Journal, 31(4), 201. doi: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_32_19.
- EHRLICH, G. (2010). Sunshine and Vitamin D. A Comprehensive Guide to the Benefits of the “Sunshine Vitamin”. The Journal Of Rheumatology, 37(2), 475-475. doi: 3899/jrheum.091173.
- (HSE, 2021). Retrieved 17 June 2021, from https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/acute-hospitals-division/woman-infants/clinical-guidelines/nutrition-during-pregnancy.pdf.
- Georgieff, M., Krebs, N., & Cusick, S. (2019). The Benefits and Risks of Iron Supplementation in Pregnancy and Childhood. Annual Review Of Nutrition, 39(1), 121-146. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-082018-124213.
- Planning a Pregnancy - INDI. (2021). Retrieved 17 June 2021, from https://www.indi.ie/fact-sheets/fact-sheets-on-women-s-health/544-planning-a-pregnancy.html.
- Mozurkewich, E., & Klemens, C. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids and pregnancy. Current Opinion In Obstetrics & Gynecology, 24(2), 72-77. doi: 10.1097/gco.0b013e328350fd34.
- Recommendations: Women & Folic Acid [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 [cited 8 December 2018]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/recommendations.html.
- Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2018 [cited 8 December 2018]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/.