Should I take supplements during my pregnancy?
Jenny: Folic acid is important during pregnancy because it helps to prevent some birth defects for example spina bifida and it’s important that you take 400 micrograms each day during the time that you are trying to conceive and up until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Once you are into your second trimester, which is after the 13th week of pregnancy, you can stop taking the folic acid supplement but if it’s part of a multivitamin that you want to continue taking it won’t cause any harm to you or the baby. During pregnancy you need Vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones and to make sure that your baby will have enough Vitamin D in its body during the first few months of life. You need 10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and for as long as you continue to breastfeed.
If you want to get your folic acid and Vitamin D from a multivitamin tablet it’s important to make sure that this doesn’t contain Vitamin A or retinol. It’s important to avoid Vitamin A during pregnancy as this can cause harm to the baby. If in doubt check the bottle or speak to your midwife.
A varied, balanced diet should help you get the nutrients that you need during pregnancy but sometimes it’s difficult to get enough iron or Vitamin B12. You can talk to your midwife about how they can check that your body does have enough of these nutrients and what you can do about it if your levels are low.