What Vitamins to Take During Pregnancy

Are you wondering what vitamins to take during pregnancy? There are so many prenatal vitamins out there, in all different price ranges, making it very difficult to decide which is right for you! You want to start with a good foundation of getting most of your vitamin needs from the food you eat. All healthy diets are pretty similar – built on vegetables, fruits, protein (especially lean meats), low fat dairy or dairy substitutes (nut milks etc) and whole grains. Water is an essential ingredient as well as you should try and drink 8-12 cups (8 oz) of water a day, more if it’s warm out. Here are some essential vitamins – check that your prenatal includes the following or you may want to consider an extra supplement. We also recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid while trying to conceive for optimal health.

what vitamins to take in pregnancy folic acid
  • Folic Acid: Recommended Dose: 400 – 600mcg. This is an important vitamin that all childbearing women should take as it is important for preventing Neural Tube Defects and Spina Bifida in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you have a history of a baby with a Neural Tube Defect, the recommended dose is 4,000 mcg/day.
    • Folate is the natural form of B9 found in food (dark leafy green, citrus, beans, egg yolks, peas and nuts).
    • Folic Acid is the synthetic form and is thought to be better absorbed
    • Methylfolate is the active form of folic acid. 25-50% of the population has a variation of a gene (the MTHFR gene) that impacts their ability to convert folic acid and even some folate into the active form that can be used by the body. You will see some supplements that have methylfolate as an ingredient.
omega 3 fatty acids what vitamins to take in pregnancy
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA): Recommended dose: 200-300 mg/day. This is involved in supporting fetal brain and eye development. Adequate levels of maternal DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been linked with improved infant and childhood cognitive development.
    • Food sources: Fish, especially salmon, and other seafood, nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts), plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil
    • Cod liver oil is not the best supplement for pregnant mothers due to high levels of vitamin A.
    • Consider a supplement to your prenatal vitamin
what vitamins to take in pregnancy vitamin d
  • Vitamin D: Recommended dose: 4,000 – 5,000 iu/day. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium and maximizes fetal bone growth. Also helps with maternal fatigue, immunity and mood.
    • Sources: sunlight (difficult in northern climates like Alaska), oily fish like salmon, red meat, liver, egg yolks
    • Consider a supplement to your prenatal vitamin
what vitamins to take in pregnancy iron
  • Iron: Recommended dose: 27 mg/day, more if anemic. Maternal iron deficiency anemia increases the risk for adverse birth outcomes such as low birthweight, perinatal mortality, and may increase the risk for preterm birth. You may also feel fatigue, heart palpitations or restless legs.
    • Food sources: Dietary iron has two forms: heme iron and non heme iron. Heme iron is found in meat, poultry and fish. Non heme iron is found in eggs, legumes, vegetables fruits and grains. Iron from animal products is better absorbed by the body.
    • Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron
    • Side effects include: constipation and nausea
    • Use a supplement if anemic
  • Probiotic: no recommended daily dose. Probiotics are made of good live bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body. These help you maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your body and can support immune function and control inflammation.
    • Food sources: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, and buttermilk
    • Consider a supplement to your prenatal vitamin

Some recommended Prenatal Vitamins:

  • Full Circle Prenatal ($49.95)
  • Innate Baby and Me Multivitamin ($35.48)
  • Seeking Health Prenatal Chewable ($39.95)
  • SmartyPants Organic Prenatal Complete ($38.99)

If you enjoyed this post on what vitamins to take during pregnancy, check out our other blog posts! Five Signs to Teach Your Baby and Baby Proofing Your House.

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