Vitamins and pregnancy: what to take or avoid while pregnant

Vitamines et grossesse : ce qu

Certain vitamins are essential for the proper development of pregnancy. Which ones to take, are some to be avoided? Folic acid, trace elements, iron, vitamin C and D, antivitamin K … What you need to know.

The vitamin and trace element deficiencies watch many women and especially during pregnancy when the nutritional requirements increase. However, do not rush to the first drugstore to swallow cocktails of vitamins randomly. Be aware, for example, that some contain vitamin a which, in high doses, could cause birth defects. And then, your perfectly diversified diet during pregnancy may already be meeting your needs! In short, only your doctor can decide and prescribe appropriate supplements if necessary. To see clearly, here are some important points of reference.

The antivitamin K (AVK) are usually indicated for heart rhythm disturbances, venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. But because of the risks to the fetus and the unborn child during exposure to antivitamin K (AVK) during pregnancy, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) decided to take new measures. Therefore, AVK “should never be used during pregnancy, except for women with a mechanical heart valve at high risk of thrombosis for whom there is no more effective therapeutic alternative, “the agency said in a press release dated November 30, 2018. If you have taken anti-vitamins K during your pregnancy, a specialized prenatal diagnosis (ultrasound, even MRI) and adapted according to the exposure period will then be implemented, with particular monitoring of the unborn child, recommends the Ansm. Finally, “in the event of the need for continued anticoagulant treatment during pregnancy, switching to heparin is essential from the 36th week of amenorrhea“, adds the Agency. As for women of childbearing age” they must use a contraception effective during treatment and tell their doctor if you are pregnant or want to have a baby in order to change treatment. “

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and therefore the proper consolidation of baby bones. It is found in certain foods such as oily fish, cod oil, eggs, whole milk and other dairy products … In addition, the body makes it itself when you expose yourself to sunlight. But if your pregnancy takes place in winter, your doctor will surely prescribe it to supplement these often insufficient intakes. Vitamin D supplementation (most often in late pregnancy) is the only one recommended in France. It is recommended at the start of the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy, the period during which the baby develops his bones. Indeed, vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or preterm delivery in some expectant mothers. See the list of foods rich in vitamin D.

Folic acid, folates or vitamin B9, plays an important role in cell formation so in the baby growth. Consuming enough of it at the time of conception and at the very beginning of pregnancy helps prevent prematurity, retarded fetal growth, but also malformations affecting the nervous system. Half of women present without knowing it a folic acid deficiency. There are certain favorable factors: taking the pill over a long period, the use of certain antibiotics, twin or close pregnancies, prolonged breastfeeding. As for women with a history of neural tube closure abnormality during a previous pregnancy, they are automatically supplemented. Vitamin B9 is not produced by the body, so it must be taken from its diet (whole grains, vegetables, etc.). Depending on the case, your doctor may decide to prescribe a supplement.

Lack of iron increases mother’s risk of anemia, premature birth and fetal hypotrophy. Adolescent girls, women with close or multiple pregnancies, vegetarians, women from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly concerned. To fill up on iron during pregnancy, once again you just need to know how to compose your menus (dried fruits, lentils, pulses, white beans, chickpeas, oilseeds, fish, spinach…). But, it is equally important to promote absorption of this iron. The foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin B9 and copper, will allow you to multiply by two or three your absorption capacities. On the other hand, avoid abuse of tea and coffee that slow them down! And remember that iron of animal origin is more easily assimilated by the body. Eat fish at least twice a week, in different forms including canned food, such as tuna, sardines, mackerel … In all cases, an iron supplement may be prescribed by the doctor, under form of tablets or ampoules. Vegetarians will surely need it. See the list of foods rich in iron.

Vitamin C helps fight fatigue, increase resistance to infection, speed up the healing process and repair fractures. During pregnancy, it also guarantees the good performance of the placental membrane. A deficiency would therefore lead to an increased risk of premature delivery. Smokers should be especially concerned because tobacco causes vitamin C deficiency. Namely, the body cannot store large reserves of vitamin C. No need to perform a week of orange pastille cures once a month! Only a regular intake will have the expected effect. Five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day and voila. Be careful, in canned foods, the vitamin content drops. Also remember to protect your food well from heat and steam it (the vitamins are soluble in water). Finally, the needs for other micronutrients (magnesium, zinc, iodine) are covered by a diversified food. As for fluoride supplementation for pregnant women – supposed to protect babies against cavities – it has never been proven. There remains the good old – but nevertheless effective – tube of toothpaste, from the appearance of the first distaff …

Our advice on feeding future mothers:

Vitamins and mineralsWhere to find it?
Source: CCM Benchmark
Vitamin CGreen vegetables, raw vegetables, parsley, coriander, citrus fruits, kiwis
Vitamin B9Green leafy vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, leeks) and dried, fermented cheeses, whole grains, melon, strawberry …
Vitamin DFatty fish and cod liver oil, Egg yolk, cheeses, whole milk, butter …
IronLentils, white beans, spinach, watercress, meat, fish, eggs, black pudding, kidneys, veal liver, dried fruit, oilseeds, chocolate …

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