The requirement of iron and vitamins increases during pregnancy and the effort should be to get these naturally by the addition of iron and vitamin rich foods to your diet.
After all, the word ‘vitamin’ was invented only in 1912. Most doctors do, however, prescribe some iron and vitamin tablets during pregnancy to ensure adequate amounts, but very concentrated forms should be avoided to prevent overdosage.
Iron in Pregnancy
If you are short of iron, you’ll probably get very tired and may suffer from anaemia. Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts contain iron. If you’d like to eat peanuts or foods that contain peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, you can do so as part of a healthy balanced diet unless you’re allergic to them, or your health professional advises you not to.
Many breakfast cereals have iron added. If the iron level in your blood becomes low, your GP or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements.
Vitamin Supplements in Pregnancy
Eating a healthy, varied diet in pregnancy will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. There are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important.
It’s best to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but when you are pregnant you will need to take some supplements as well, to make sure you get everything you need. It’s recommended that you take:
10 micrograms of vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy – you should also carry on taking this after your baby is born if you breastfeed.
400 micrograms of folic acid each day – you should take this from before you are pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A (retinol), as too much could harm your baby.
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or your GP may be able to prescribe them for you. If you want to get your folic acid or vitamin D from a multivitamin tablet, make sure that the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol).