Supplements in pregnancy

There are two vitamins that are very important in pregnancy and that you can take as a supplement: folic acid and vitamin D. If you are anaemic it may be important to take an iron supplement too.

Although a healthy diet will give you most of the vitamins and minerals you need, folic acid and vitamin D are so important for your baby that you should take supplements in pregnancy to be sure that you are getting the full amount you need.

If your blood tests show that you are anaemic in pregnancy then your doctor or midwife will prescribe an iron supplement. If they do not show this there is no need to take an iron supplement in pregnancy.

There is no advantage in taking other vitamin and mineral supplements unless your GP prescribes them.

Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A as too much could harm your baby.

Don't forget!

Always forgetting to take your vitamins? Keep the bottle where you will see it every day - next to your toothbrush, for example. Or add a reminder to your phone.

More on important supplements in pregnancy

  • Folic acid pills.

    Folic acid in pregnancy

    Folic acid is important to take during pregnancy because it helps your baby’s nervous system to develop.

  • Pregnant woman taking iron supplements.

    Iron in pregnancy

    Iron makes red blood cells for both you and your baby. If you are anaemic or are expecting twins your doctor may prescribe you iron supplements in pregnancy.

  • Vitamin D supplements.

    Vitamin D in pregnancy

    Everybody needs vitamin D – it helps us to absorb the right amount of calcium and phosphate. It is especially important in pregnancy as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop.

Sources

  1. Hollis BW et al. (2011). “Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: Double-blind, randomized clinical trial of safety and effectiveness.” JBMR 2011;26:2341-2357
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care’, NICE Clinical Guidelines 62: http://publications.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-cg62 [accessed 18 January 2015].
  3. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall.
  4.  National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care’, NICE Clinical Guidelines 62: http://publications.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-cg62 [accessed 18 January 2015].
  5. NHS Choices, Supplements in pregnancy, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx [accessed 12/11/2014]
  6. Bestwick JP et al. (2014). “Prevention of neural tube defects: a cross sectional uptake of folic acid supplementation in nearly half a million women.” Plos One 2014; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089354
  7. British Dietetic Association (2013) ‘Food Fact Sheet: Vitamin D’, London, BDA: http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/VitaminD [accessed 18 January 2015] 
  8. Weissmann-Brenner A, et al. (2014). “Maternal medical compromise during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.” The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and neonatal medicine 2014;doi: 10.3109/14767058.2014.947949
  9. Hoppe M, et al. (2013). “Heme iron-based dietary intervention for improvement of iron status in young women.” Nutrition 2013;29:89-95
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Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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