Vitamins, Nutrients, & Medicine
Folic Acid is a B vitamin that is essential for healthy growth and development and helps prevent heart and birth defects.
It is recommended that 400 mcg of folic acid should be taken every day before pregnancy and 600 mcg during pregnancy.
Good sources of folic acid include:
- Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, cabbage)
- Chickpeas and kidney beans
- Inadequate folic acid intake can lead to:
- Neural tube defects
- Heart defects
Iron is a mineral to help with blood supply for you and your baby. It is recommended that pregnant women need twice as much compared to healthy non-pregnant women.
It is recommended that 27 mg of iron is needed every day during pregnancy.
Good sources of iron include:
- Leafy greens
- Lean meat, poultry and seafood
- Beans, nuts, raisins, and dried fruit
Inadequate iron intake can lead to
- Premature birth and low birth weight
Calcium is a mineral that helps in developing the baby’s bones, teeth, heart, muscles and nerves.
It is recommended that 1,000 mg of calcium is consumed every day during pregnancy.
Good sources of calcium can be found in:
- Milk, cheese, yogurt
- Orange juice
- Broccoli and kale
- Inadequate calcium intake can lead to osteoporosis in the mother.
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body absorb calcium.
It is recommended that 600 IU of vitamin D is taken every day during pregnancy.
Good sources of vitamin D include:
- Milk and cereal with vitamin D added
Inadequate vitamin D intake can lead to:
- Low birth weight
- Increased risk for cesarean birth
Iodine is a mineral that makes thyroid hormones to use and store energy from food and is essential for brain development in the fetus.
It is recommended that 220 mcg of iodine is consumed daily for pregnant persons.
Good sources with iodine include:
- Milk, cheese, yogurt
- Iodized salt
Inadequate iodine intake can cause:
- Preterm delivery
- Hearing or learning problems
- For more information on these vitamins and nutrients visit, Vitamins and Other Nutrients During Pregnancy.
Where can I get these vitamins and nutrients?
- Prenatal Vitamins is a multivitamin for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. They provide you with the essential vitamins and minerals needed to have a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins can be bought over-the-counter or prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Avoid taking more vitamins and minerals than needed. Although they are beneficial for the growth and development of your baby too much can cause harm. If you are unsure of how much you should be taking, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Eating a well- balanced diet can help in getting essential vitamins and nutrients needed for pregnancy into your body. Prenatal vitamins compliments healthy eating during pregnancy, therefore both should be practiced.
- Doctors usually recommend not taking medicine during the first 3 months of pregnancy when the baby is developing organs. However, sometimes this is unavoidable if treating a health or mental disorder like high blood pressure or depression. If you are taking medication and are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant talk with your healthcare provider.
- Medicine safe for pregnant women to take:
- Acetaminophen for fever or pain (Ex. Tylenol)
- Penicillin and a few antibiotics
- HIV medicines
- Some medicines for high blood pressure, asthma, depression
- Medicine not safe for pregnant women
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Ex. Pepto-Bismol)
- Phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine used in decongestants
- Guaifenesin used in most cough and cold medicines
- Doxycycline and tetracycline
- Visit CDC’s Treating for Two: Medicine and Pregnancy to learn more about safe medicine use during pregnancy and more.
- Visit, LactMed a drugs and lactation database for information on medicine and how it might affect you or your baby through breast milk. All information and data are derived from scientific literature and peer reviewed. Talk with your healthcare provider before stopping or continuing any medication.