Pregnancy places extra demands on our bodies for vitamins and minerals. As your baby grows inside you, certain, specific nutrients are very important for healthy development. A vitamin deficiency can also lead to problems and complications, even mental or physical disabilities in your child.
Blood work done throughout the pregnancy can help you identify if your body is getting the right amount of vitamins it needs, or identify if supplements are necessary or their dosages increased or decreased. There can also be too much of a good thing; therefore, it is important not to take more vitamins than your body requires. This is one more reason to choose a care provider who will help you develop a supplement plan and monitor its effects on your body.
Vitamins and Minerals of Special Importance
- Calcium – Recommended Dosage per day: 1,000 mg
Calcium builds your baby’s bones and teeth. When you do not have enough calcium in your diet, calcium is pulled from your own bones and teeth to be given to the baby, which can lead later in life to osteoporosis and tooth decay in the Mother.
- Vitamin D3 – Recommended Dosage per day: 6,000 IU
In addition to its importance for healthy development of the eyes and skin, Vitamin D is also critical for the development of your baby’s baby’s bones and teeth, and immune system.
- Folate – Recommended Dosage per day: 600 micrograms. Many prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, but now it is thought that it is better to take the more natural form which is called folate. You can get folate in green leafy vegetables and vitamins made from food. It is one of the B vitamins and is necessary to prevent major birth defects called neural tube defects such as cleft lip and palate, and spina bifida. Women in their childbearing years need to be getting enough folate all of the time because these defects can occur in the first weeks of pregnancy before most women know that they are pregnant. See MTHFR.
- Iron – Recommended Dosage per day: 18 – 27 mg.
Carries oxygen to your organs and tissues, including the baby’s. A proper balance is required to prevent anemia.
- Magnesium – Recommended Dosage per day: 1,200 mg.
Plays an important role functions throughout the body. Promotes general health and prevention of preventable illnesses such as gestational diabetes.
- Vitamin B12 – if you are vegan or vegetarian then you need to be sure you are getting B12 from somewhere. This is usually from supplements since there are very few reliable sources of B12 in the vegetable kingdom. Your developing baby needs to get some B12 every day. Most prenatal vitamins contain B12.