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Are you Getting Enough Vitamins During Pregnancy?

Dr. Vijayalakshmi
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist

Pregnancy care involves a balance of nutrition and optimum personal hygiene. Enjoying a healthy and vivid diet in pregnancy allows you to make the most out of the three trimesters. Pregnancy includes physiological changes resulting

But when you’re pregnant, or there’s a chance you might get pregnant, it’s important to also take a folic acid supplement. It’s recommended that you take: 400 micrograms of folic acid every day – from before you’re pregnant until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. This is to reduce the risk of problems in the baby’s development in the early weeks of pregnancy. It is also recommended that you take a daily vitamin D supplement.

Do not take cod liver oil or any supplements containing vitamin A (retinol) when you’re pregnant. Too much vitamin A could harm your baby. Always check the label. You also need to know which foods to avoid in pregnancy.

Where to get pregnancy supplements You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you. If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol). You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme. Folic acid before and during pregnancy It’s important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida. If you did not take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Try to eat green leafy vegetables which contain folate (the natural form of folic acid) and breakfast cereals and fat spreads with folic acid added to them. It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for a healthy pregnancy from food alone, which is why it’s important to take a folic acid supplement.

Higher-dose folic acid
If you have a higher chance of your pregnancy being affected by neural tube defects, you will be advised to take a higher dose of folic acid (5 milligrams). You will be advised to take this each day until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

You may have a higher chance if:
you or the baby’s biological father have a neural tube defect
you or the baby’s biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
you have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
you have diabetes
you take anti-epilepsy medicine
you take anti-retroviral medicine for HIV
If any of this applies to you, talk to a GP. They can prescribe a higher dose of folic acid.

A GP or midwife may also recommend additional screening tests during your pregnancy.

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