Vitamins and minerals in pregnancy

Vitamin needs increase during pregnancy, so it is common to recommend vitamin supplements to avoid various nutritional deficiencies. Even so, it must be borne in mind that fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K) accumulate in the body in case of overdose, so in pregnant women there is a risk of toxicity to the fetus. For this reason, it is preferable that the vitamin intake be provided through a diet through food, where the risk of toxicity is almost impossible.

Vitamins needed in pregnancy

Although in general you need an increase of all vitamins during pregnancy, special mention should be made of:

- Thiamine or vitamin B1. The dose should not be less than 1.5 mg / day. It is found in whole grains (flours and grains), legumes and meats in general.

- Niacin or vitamin B3. It must be provided in an amount of 17 mg / day. It is found mainly in organ meats, meats, fish, legumes and whole grains.

- Riboflavin or vitamin B2. The minimum dose should be 1.6 mg / day. We find it in the liver of animals, chicken eggs and milk.

- Folic acid or vitamin B9. Its deficit is the most common deficiency in pregnancy, being able to give rise to megaloblastic anemia characterized by an increase in the size of red blood cells while decreasing their number. Foods rich in folic acid are liver, spinach, lettuce and, to a lesser extent, meat and fish. The recommended dose is 400 mcg / day, compared to 180 mcg / day recommended for non-pregnant women. It is common that during the first trimester of pregnancy they are prescribed in the form of tablets for their effectiveness in preventing abnormalities in the fetus.

- Vitamin C. It should not be taken in large doses, because its massive consumption can lead to cases of scurvy, because the mother is accustomed to exaggerated doses and after delivery your body will demand more vitamin C than necessary.

- Fat-soluble vitamins they should not be significantly increased during pregnancy, except in the case of vitamin D, which should double, since it has very positive effects on the calcium balance; it crosses the placenta and appears in fetal blood in the same concentration as in maternal blood. Its decrease has been related to neonatal hypocalcemia. The main sources of this vitamin are fish liver oils, whole milk and its fats: cream and butter.

Minerals essential in pregnancy

- Calcium. The fetus is in continuous growth and forming its bones for which it requires calcium. The calcium needs increase as the pregnancy progresses, but it is convenient to ingest it from the first moment as it is stored for later use.

When calcium is not sufficiently provided, the calcium from the bones of the mother herself is put into circulation with the consequent complications.

- Iron. Insufficient iron intake is another major problem for pregnant women. Iron is necessary for the fetus to take advantage of oxygen, since it is part of the hemoglobin. The amount of iron needed during pregnancy is doubled and becomes 30 mg / day. The foods that contain more iron are meat and fish. It is convenient to banish the myth of spinach as a beneficial food because of its high amount of iron, since the type of iron they contain is very poorly absorbed.

To increase the absorption of iron it is convenient to associate it with vitamin C, for this reason it is highly recommended to accompany a piece of meat with an orange juice. In any case, it is difficult to reach the recommended levels of iron through the diet, for which it is common to resort to dietary supplements or medications.

Pedro J. Toranzos Carazo. Pharmacist and Nutritionist

Pregnancy calendar week to week

Click on each petal or circle to see the content of your week or trimester of pregnancy respectively.

Video: What Supplements I Take During Pregnancy

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