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7 April 2015

Pregnant women and new mums must take daily supplements to give their baby a healthy start in life. This reduces the risk of a baby developing deficiencies that could lead to developmental problems and ill health. Vitamins can also help boost energy levels and keep exhaustion at bay during pregnancy and beyond.

Here are the top three supplements that mums-to-be and new mums should include in their diet:

Folic Acid

Pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive should take a 400mg tablet of folic acid per day to prevent their baby from developing birth defects like spina bifida. The Department for Health advises that a daily supplement of folic acid should be taken up until a woman is 12 weeks pregnant at the very least. Foods that are rich in folates, such as beans, lentils, dark green vegetables and fortified cereals are useful for increasing folic acid intake during pregnancy. However, eating folate-rich foods is not a sufficient substitute to taking folic acid tablets. Some women, who have an increased risk of having a pregnancy that’s affected by a birth defect, may be advised to take a higher dose of folic acid by their doctor or midwife.

Vitamin D

Taking Vitamin D during pregnancy helps the body to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate that are needed for a growing baby to develop strong and healthy bones. Although Vitamin D is made by the body through exposure to sunlight, it can be tricky to make enough during the winter time when daylight hours are significantly reduced. Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to weak bones and even rickets in some cases so it’s vital to take a regular supplement when pregnant and breastfeeding. Mums who choose to breastfeed can get all of the other vitamins and minerals they need for their baby through a balanced diet but a daily 10mg dose of Vitamin D is advised by doctors.

Iron

Some mums-to-be can develop an iron deficiency known as anaemia during pregnancy, which leads to tiredness, shortness of breath and a pale complexion. This condition is especially common among women who are expecting twins and triplets. A combination of eating iron-rich foods, such as dark green vegetables, eggs, dried fruit and meat, and taking iron tablets during pregnancy is an effective way to boost low levels of iron. Severe anaemia that’s left untreated during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications before and after birth so being monitored regularly by a midwife or doctor is vital.

Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience but it’s very important that mums-to-be take extra care of their personal wellbeing, as it can have a direct impact on the health of their baby. Reducing stress, relaxing, eating right and taking the right supplements, vitamins and minerals is vital to promoting a healthy pregnancy, labour and birth.

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