01.07.2014

Pregnancy vitamin requirements

Micronutrient Requirements - There are 4 vitamins and 3 minerals needed in greater amounts during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 is important during pregnancy to regenerate the active form of folate, therefore, macrocytic anemia can also result from inadequate intake of vitamin B12. Vitamin C helps form collagen, a part of connective tissue in skin, blood vessels, and tendons, as well as the organic matrix of bones.
Vitamin D is needed at the same level in pregnancy as it is prior to pregnancy to aid in calcium absorption. Calcium needs do not change during pregnancy because absorption of calcium is greatly enhanced in pregnancy as long as there is adequate vitamin D intake. A greater variety of vegetables would provide vitamin A, C, and E as well as the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc. Calcium is not absorbed as easily in the gut and vitamin D is not produced as easily by the skin. An adequate intake of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamins B6, B12, and folate is necessary to reduce the levels of homocysteine in the blood. One nutrient with increased absorption in the elderly is vitamin A and toxic levels can cause liver damage. The following table provides a summary of the changes in recommendations for these micronutrients during pregnancy.


The need for vitamin B12 increases only slightly compared to some other nutrients because it is one nutrient that is absorbed much more efficiently during pregnancy. Vitamin C deficiency can increase the risk of premature birth, preeclampsia, and premature rupture of the membranes. Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy can lead to intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. Vitamin D supplements are used in pregnancy by women who do not drink milk or have limited sun exposure. However, vegans, adolescents, and anyone whose diet is not varied enough to provide a balance of all nutrients would benefit from prenatal vitamins. For example, During the Great Depression in the 1930’s when some of the vitamins were being discovered and people were not getting enough to eat because there were no jobs, this was an important focus.
EER (Estimated Energy Requirement) is the average dietary intake predicted to maintain energy balance in an individual. Vitamins and minerals are needed to process (metabolize) the carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids to obtain energy from them.
Therefore, fat-soluble vitamins may be toxic if large doses are taken for a period of time. The Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) is the total amount of energy needed per day for any age group.


Foods such as milk containing both calcium and vitamin D are best, but if the individual is lactose intolerant or has difficulty getting the right foods, calcium supplements with vitamin D are important to minimize the incidence of osteoporosis. There are six major groups of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats and oils, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. Vitamins are an essential nutrient because they build and maintain healthy bones and muscle tissue.
Women on a vegan diet should choose fortified foods or take supplements containing vitamin B12. Any women who could possibly become pregnant should consume an extra 400 µg of folic acid per day from fortified foods or supplements. Vitamins are micro-nutrients, meaning they are needed in small amounts to sustain our normal health and body functions.



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