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Vitamins and supplements

It is important to eat a well balanced healthy diet as this will provide you with most of the vitamins and minerals that you need. However you are recommended to take a vitamin supplement formulated for you pregnancy until you finish breastfeeding. Vitamin A should not be taken in pregnancy.

 

Folic acid

Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The recommended dose is 0.4mg or 400micrograms per day for at least 8 weeks before pregnancy and for up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. A higher dose of 5mg per day is recommended if:

  • you or your baby's biological father have a neural tube defect
  • you or your baby's biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
  • you have a BMI of more that 30
  • you are taking anti-epileptic drugs
  • you have a family history of fetal abnormalities
  • you have diabetes

This dose should be prescribed by you doctor.

 

Foods that include folic acid

Folic acid in its natural form is called folate which are naturally present in:

  • green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage
  • green beans
  • oranges,
  • chickpeas and brown rice.
  • some breakfast cereals, margarine and bread have folic acid added, these are called 'fortified' foods.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D  regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause children's bones to soften and can lead to rickets. It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. If you are African, African Caribbean or South Asian origin or always cover you skin when outside, you may be at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency. Talk to your midwife or doctor if this applies to you. 

 

Foods that include Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made by your body when your skin is exposed to summer sunlight but it is also found in some foods, including:

  • Oily fish (e.g salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines)
  • Eggs
  • Red meat.

 

Further sources of information