Why Take Supplements During Pregnancy?

Why Take Supplements During Pregnancy?

Good nutrition in pregnancy is vital for the healthy growth and development of your baby. You need to consume enough nutrients to meet your baby’s needs, as well as your own. Consuming the right nutrients is important at every stage of life, but it’s especially critical during pregnancy, as pregnant women need to nourish both themselves and their growing babies. 

Pregnancy increases the need for nutrients, during pregnancy, a woman’s macronutrient intake needs grow significantly. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

However, the requirement for micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals and trace elements, increases even more than the need for macronutrients.

It’s recommend during pregnancy to take a prenatal vitamin to help cover any nutritional gaps in the mother's diet. Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins that are specially formulated to meet the increased demand for micronutrients during pregnancy. They are intended to be taken before conception and during pregnancy and lactation.

Vitamins and minerals support maternal and fetal growth at every stage of pregnancy and are required to support critical functions like cell growth and cell signaling. While some women are able to meet this growing demand through a well-planned, nutrient-dense diet, others are not.
Some pregnant women may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for various reasons, including; nutrient deficiencies, hyperemesis gravidarum, dietary restrictions, smoking, multiple pregnancies, genetic mutations and poor diet.

American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that all pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin and folic acid supplement. This is advised to fill in nutritional gaps and prevent birth defects like spina bifida.

Observational studies have shown that supplementing with prenatal vitamins reduces the risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia. 
Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are organic compounds needed in small amounts that your body can’t make for itself.

Folic acid; Folate is a B vitamin that plays an integral role in DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, fetal growth & development and helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception, before many women know they are pregnant, so you should take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you're pregnant and until you're 12 weeks pregnant.

Calcium; is important for a pregnant woman. It can help prevent from losing bone density as the baby uses calcium for its own bone growth.

Iodine; is critical for a woman’s healthy thyroid function and for brain & nervous system development during pregnancy. A deficiency in iodine can cause stunted physical growth, severe mental disability, and deafness. Not enough iodine can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth.

Iron; The need for iron increases significantly during pregnancy, as maternal blood volume increases by nearly 50%, iron helps prevent anaemia in the mother, as well as low birth weight in the baby and is critical for oxygen transport, healthy growth & development of the fetus and placenta.

The prevalence of iron deficiency in pregnant women in the US is around 18%. 

Vitamin D; fat-soluble vitamin is important for immune function, bone health and cell division. Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of cesarean section, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes

Vitamin C; protects cells and helps keep them healthy. Adequate vitamin C intake also helps improve the adsorption of iron from your diet.

Magnesium; is a mineral involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in body. It plays critical roles in immune, muscle and nerve function.

Deficiency of magnesium during pregnancy may increase the risk of chronic hypertension and premature labor. Some studies suggest that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the risk of complications like fetal growth restriction and preterm birth. 

Fish Oil; contains DHA and EPA, two essential fatty acids that are important for fetal brain development. Supplementing with DHA and EPA in pregnancy might boost infant brain development and decrease maternal depression, though research on this topic is inconclusive.

Ginger; is most commonly used to treat nausea caused by motion sickness, pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy, with up to 80% of women experiencing this in the first trimester of pregnancy. 


1- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/

2- https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins#1