sign up
Home   Pregnancy Blog   Vitamin Deficiencies During Pregnancy

Vitamin Deficiencies During Pregnancy
Vitamin Deficiencies During Pregnancy

Following a sound, well-balanced nutritional program should cover most of your vitamin needs during your pregnancy, though it is vital to ensure you are consuming enough of the following vitamins in particular:

Vitamin D: This Vitamin is vital when it comes to regulating and absorbing calcium and phosphorous, which are vital for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth; Vitamin D deficiency can interfere with your baby’s normal rate of growth and can lead to low birth weight and skeletal deformities. It can also put your child at risk for rickets and delayed physical development, affecting bone health and immunity even in their adult years. New research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has found that women who have a Vitamin D deficiency during the first 26 weeks of their pregnancy are more likely to develop severe preeclampsia. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and giving birth to an underweight baby. Some of the steps you can take to boost your Vitamin D levels intake include consuming oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and tuna), and fortified milk. Additionally, aim to get between five and 10 minutes of sun, three times a week.

 is also vital for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth; source your daily quotient from dairy products, sardines and other fish with edible bones, as well as dried fruit, tofu and green leafy vegetables.

 The body absorbs iron more efficiently during pregnancy; avoid anemia by consuming enough green, leafy vegetables, lean meat, dried fruit and nuts.

Vitamin B12:
 A study published in 2009 in the journal, Pediatrics, has found that women who suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency during the early months of their pregnancy are up to five times more at risk of having a child with neural tube defects. Source Vitamin B12 from meat, milk, eggs and fortified foods.

Folic acid:
 You should start taking folic acid before you get pregnant, to avoid neural tube defects such as spina bifida. If you haven’t taken any folic acid before you discover you are pregnant, start taking them as soon as you can. Women who are taking medication for epilepsy may need greater amounts of folic acid so if this is your case, see your health care provider about the appropriate dosage. You may also need to take more folic acid if your baby is at an increased risk of being born with a neural tube defect – i.e. if your partner has a neural tube defect, a previous pregnancy has been affected by a neural tube defect, there is a family history of the condition, or you have diabetes.

Vitamin C:
 Ascorbic acid (or Vitamin C) is vital for tissue repair, healthy skin, bone growth, etc. Source it from food (citric fruits, boiled cabbage, strawberries, tomatoes, blackcurrants, kiwi, red bell pepper etc.) rather than from supplements, since some studies show that excessive Vitamin C can be linked to preterm birth.

DHA represents about 97 percent of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93 percent of all omega-3 fats in the retina in the eye. DHA accumulates both prenatally and postnatally in infant brain, eye and nervous system tissue. Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk following birth. Increasing DHA in the diet during pregnancy and nursing significantly enhances the level of DHA available to the unborn baby and infant.

Word of caution: 
The National Academy of Sciences recommends the consumption of an iron supplement (30mg daily) during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, even if you consume a balanced diet. Women are also advised to take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid from the time before they are pregnant until they are 12 weeks pregnant, and 400 IU of Vitamin D. Many prenatal vitamins contain a combination of folic acid, calcium, Vitamin D, iron and other vitamins. Remember that excessive amounts may harm your baby. This does not mean that Vitamin A is not crucial during your pregnancy – Vitamin A is vital for the development of your baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, bones and eyes, as well as the central nervous and circulatory systems. It is also vital for proper tissue repair postpartum. You need to consume about 770 micrograms a day; try to source your daily quotient from fish, eggs and vegetables containing carotenoids.

So, let me ask you: Are you taking Prenatal Vitamins?
Learn more about prenatal vitamins here:

Citations:, Vitamin D and Pregnancy, accessed December, 2014.

AM Molloy, Maternal vitamin B12 status and risk of neural tube defects in a population with high neural tube defect prevalence and no folic Acid fortification. Pediatrics. 2009, 123(3):917-23.

B Specker, Vitamin D Requirements During Pregnancy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004, 80(6):1740S-47S.

Qjmed.oxfordjournals.orgVitamin B12 and the Risk of Neural Tube Defects in a Folic-Acid-Fortified Population, accessed December, 2014.

my.clevelandclinic.orgIncreasing Iron in Your Diet During Pregnancy, accessed December, 2014., Vitamin D and pregnancy: 9 things you need to know, accessed December, 2014.


Share your Thoughts