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Vitamins & Minerals in pregnancy

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Reviewed by Foram Shah [M.A. in Yogashastra. ACT Yoga Teacher. Pre-post natal Yoga TTC. Kids Yoga TTC. Alignment and Posture Specialist.]

Vitamins and Minerals are micronutrients that our body needs to carry out day-to-day activities effectively. These micronutrients are not produced in our body and it needs to be absorbed from the food we eat.


Vitamins are organic substances that are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and tend to get stored in the body. Whereas water-soluble vitamins have to be dissolved in water before they can be absorbed by the body, and cannot be stored. Any unused water-soluble vitamin in the body is lost in the urine.


Which are the Water-Soluble vitamins
Which are the Water-Soluble vitamins?

Water soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. The nine water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all the B vitamins. Any leftover or excess amounts of these leave the body through the urine. They have to be consumed on a regular basis to prevent shortages or deficiencies in the body.


One of the jobs of the kidneys is to remove any excess water-soluble vitamins that are not needed. What that means is, taking extra vitamin C won’t help boost your immune system more than the daily-recommended amount. It will just end up going down the toilet.


Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are quite the opposite. These vitamins dissolve in fat and are stored in tissue, so the body has access to them as needed. This means that it would be easier to absorb more fat-soluble vitamins than you really need since they aren’t being removed by the kidneys after the need is met.


Over time, you can build up a dangerous amount of fat-soluble vitamins, if you are not following daily intake limits. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are absorbed more easily by the body in the presence of dietary fat. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking or plan to take these vitamins to make sure you are staying in a safe daily consumption range. Taking too much of these vitamins could lead to a range of health concerns including birth defects, blurred vision, heart rhythm problems, and liver problems.


What are Fat-Soluble vitamins?
What are Fat-Soluble vitamins?

What are prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. Compared to regular multivitamins, they have more of the nutrients that you need during pregnancy.


Your body uses vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in food to be strong and healthy. During pregnancy, your growing baby gets all the necessary nutrients from you. So you may need more during pregnancy than you did before.



Important nutrients that you may need during pregnancy -


Folic acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. It can prevent birth defects that affect the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop early in pregnancy, hence it is important you take the prescribed dose.


Iron

Iron is critical for oxygen transport and the healthy growth and development of your baby and the placenta. Anemia during pregnancy has been associated with preterm delivery, maternal depression, and infant anemia, it can also make you tired, and more prone to infections. You need twice as much iron during pregnancy as you did before pregnancy.


Calcium

Calcium is also important for a pregnant woman. It can help prevent you from losing your bone density as the baby uses calcium for its own bone growth, also needed for your baby’s bones, teeth, heart, muscles, and nerve development. If you don’t get enough calcium during pregnancy, your body takes it from your bones and gives it to your baby. This can cause health conditions, such as osteoporosis, later in life.


Vitamin D

is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for immune function, bone health, and cell division. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your body’s nerves, muscles, and immune system work. Your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your baby’s bones and teeth grow. Try to take a walk outside when the sunlight is not harsh, and use sunscreen to avoid skin rashes.


Iodine

Iodine is critical for a woman’s healthy thyroid function during pregnancy. You need iodine during pregnancy to help your baby’s nervous system develop. The nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) helps your baby move, think and feel. Do not take any OTC medicine. Your doctor will prescribe the amount of Iodine you need.


Now that you know the importance of these nutrients during pregnancy, it is also important that you take the prescribed supplements as mentioned. If you have any side effects after taking the supplements, let your doctor know about the same, and he/she will modify the prescription according to you.


For some women, taking iron and calcium supplements can cause certain side effects, in such cases, a different composition may be prescribed. So, tell your doctor about any changes you experience after you take the supplements.


Yes, the natural way to get all the nutrients is through food. Unfortunately, the food that is available is deprived of nutrients and is not the same as our parents or grandparents used to get it. You continue to eat wholesome home-cooked food, and also take the supplements prescribed to you.


Let us know in the comments below if you would like to receive a generic diet chart 👇🏽











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