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- Fact sheets
Vitamins and minerals
When you are pregnant, your body needs more vitamins and minerals. Below is a list of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy.
Folate is needed for health growth and development. Taking enough folate substantially reduces the risk of neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida) in your baby. It is recommended that women consume an extra 400 micrograms of folic acid per day in the month before pregnancy and for at least the first three months during pregnancy. A good simple supplement is a pregnancy multivitamin.
Iron is needed to make red blood cells for you and your baby. The amount of iron you need increases during pregnancy. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, chicken and fish. Other sources include legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, dark green leafy vegetable, nuts and eggs.
Calcium is needed for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. If you calcium intake is low, calcium will be drawn from your own bones increasing your risk of osteoporosis later in life. Most calcium intakes comes from dairy products. If you cannot eat calcium products, look for calcium enriched for products in the supermarket. The recommended daily calcium intake for pregnant women is 1,000mg.
Vitamin D is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood. It is needed for strong bones, muscles and overall health. In Australia, it is advised that all women, regardless of their skin colour, sun exposure and any other risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, to take at least 400units of vitamin D daily during pregnancy and continued for at least 6 weeks after baby is born.
Most newborns do not receive enough Vitamin D from their mothers during pregnancy, from sunlight or through their diet. Therefore, it is recommended that all babies are given a vitamin D supplement.
For more information please discuss with your midwife or doctor and see the following information Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women and Newborns.
Iodine is required for normal mental development of the baby. Fish is the best food source for this mineral. Most pregnancy multivitamins include iodine.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are needed for development of the baby’s brain and nervous tissue. Oily fish (E.g. salmon, sardines and tuna are a good source. Having 2-3 services of finish is recommended per week. Limit certain types of fish (shark/flake or swordfish/broadbill/marlin and orange roughly/deep sea perch) due to their possibility of higher mercury levels. Smaller amounts of these fatty acids are also found in walnuts, spinach, soybeans, linseeds and canola.
Vitamin B12 is needed for cellular growth and nervous system development. It is found in all animal products including milk and eggs. Plants do not contain this vitamin. If you do not eat animal products you will need a vitamin B12 supplement while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Large amount of vitamin A can be harmful to your developing baby. Liver is a rich source of iron, but it is also very high in vitamin A. if you eat liver, limit is to a small amount (50g per week).
Last Modified: Tuesday, 01 December 2020