Pregnancy is a time where there can be zero compromise on dietary habits and intake of quality food. There are a large number of vitamins and minerals needed for the growing foetus and for carrying out all the pregnancy processes.
A balanced diet is the best way of getting all the important vitamins though dietary supplements are also essential. These however should be taken only in consultation with your practitioner.
The Essential Pregnancy Vitamins
Vitamin A or Beta-Carotene
Around 770 mcg of this vitamin is needed during pregnancy. It helps in the bone and teeth growth of the foetus. It is amply found in cantaloupes, broccoli, papaya, carrots, mangoes, liver, milk, eggs and spinach.
Vitamin D is needed to absorb dietary calcium. Around 7 mcg of this vitamin is needed. It is found in milk, fatty fish and the good old sunshine.
Vitamin E is needed for strong muscles and good skin development of the foetus. It also helps in the growth of new blood cells. It is found in fortified cereals, nuts, wheat germ and spinach. Around 15 mg of this vitamin is needed during pregnancy.
80-85 mg of this vitamin is needed during pregnancy. Vitamin C helps to absorb dietary iron, helps in the repair of worn out tissues and boosts the immune system of both the mother and the foetus. Vitamin C is found in ample quantities in oranges, lime, sweet lime, amla, strawberries, potatoes and tomatoes.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
This essential vitamin is needed for high energy levels and nervous system functions. It is found in cereals, pasta, pork, rice, berries, nuts, whole grain etc. Around 1 mg of this vitamin is sufficient for pregnancy.
This vitamin is needed in trace amounts during pregnancy. It is important for good eyesight and healthy skin. It is found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs and fortified cereals.
Around 18 mg of this vitamin is needed by the body during pregnancy to help develop the foetus’s nerves, healthy skin and the mother’s digestion. This is found in eggs, fish, bread, peanuts and fortified cereals.
This essential vitamin is routinely prescribed in pregnancy to women who suffer from morning sickness. 1-9 mg of this vitamin can be easily obtained through bananas, cantaloupes, eggs, fish, liver, pork, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli, sunflower seeds etc.
This crucial vitamin takes the cake for being the king of pregnancy vitamins. Around 600 mcg of folic acid is required during pregnancy. It helps to support the placenta and helps to prevent birth defects like spina bifida. Folic acid is found in trace amounts in oranges, strawberries, beans, nuts, broccoli, beets, green leafy vegetables etc.
The calcium requirement in pregnant women is upped to 1300mg and is needed for strong bones, teeth, and prevention of blood clots. Calcium is found in dairy like cheese, curd, milk and calcium fortified foods.
Iron is one of the most important minerals for pregnancy and is needed for normal haemoglobin levels, prevention of low birth weight and premature delivery. It is found in spinach, nuts, and organ meats like liver and fortified grains. The other important minerals are zinc, which helps to produce insulin and regulates the production of enzymes in the body.