A guide to vitamins and minerals in pregnancy

A healthy diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, however it is particularly important if you're pregnant.

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A healthy diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, however it is particularly important if you're pregnant. During pregnancy it is essential that your diet provides sufficient energy and nutrients for your baby's development and for your body to cope with the changes taking place.

This is why pregnant women are advised to enjoy a varied diet. It is thought that a wide selection of foods will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. This quick guide provides an overview of those vitamins and minerals that are especially important.

Calcium Calcium helps develop strong bones and teeth and is extremely important throughout pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, when your baby's bones are hardening.
Iron Iron is needed for the formation of red blood cells and pregnant women need more to supply their growing fetus and placenta. Zinc boosts your baby's natural immune defences and aids their healthy growth.
B Vitamins B vitamins are needed during pregnancy to help your body get the extra energy it needs from the food in your diet. As well as Folate, these B vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), and B12 (cobalamin).
Thiamin Thiamin works with other B-group vitamins to break down and release energy from starchy foods. It helps keep nerves and muscle tissue healthy.
Riboflavin Riboflavin helps enzymes function and release energy. You need extra energy during pregnancy.
Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 encourages the release of energy from proteins to help maintain hormonal balance.
Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is important for the growth and development of your baby. It also promotes healthy blood to help prevent you from developing anaemia.
Folic Acid Folic acid, or folate, is a type of B vitamin that helps your baby's spine develop properly.
Vitamin C Pregnant women need extra vitamin C from their diet It's vital for healthy gums, blood and skin for you and your baby.
Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for the healthy development of your baby's eyes and nerves. It also helps strengthen immunity and maintain healthy skin. However, too much Vitamin A could harm your baby, therefore we recommend that you consult your GP or midwife for more information.

It is important for pregnant women to seek nutritional advice from their GP or midwife about their vitamin and mineral requirements before and during pregnancy, as well as the types of foods which are good sources of these substances.

Useful Links

NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide
FSA Healthy Eating: Eating while you are pregnant