Even if you eat a healthy, varied diet during pregnancy, it can be hard to get enough folic acid and calcium, in particular. Multivitamin tablets can be a good solution.
A large amount of calcium is needed for a baby’s growth and development. For this reason, you should aim to eat about 900 mg of calcium a day. This is roughly equal to half a litre of milk and a portion of yoghurt or some cheese. If you only drink milk, 900mg is the equivalent of about three quarters of a litre.
Some other foods with a high calcium content include broccoli, spinach, white cabbage, sardines, prawns, eggs and green beans.
It's only necessary for you to take a calcium supplement if you don't eat dairy products.
Vitamin A is good for the body, but during pregnancy you shouldn't have too much of it. Liver is a good source of iron and vitamin A, but don’t eat too much of it during pregnancy.
Vitamin D is found in fish, but it is also produced when the sun shines on your skin. Staying sun-safe, it’s a good idea to expose your skin to the sun for short periods all year-round.
You should start taking a folic acid (Vitamin B9) supplement at least one month before conception and during the first three months of your pregnancy, roughly 400 micrograms per day. Folic acid is important for the formation of the child's central nervous system and reduces the risk of your baby being affected by spina bifida or being born with a low birth weight. You can find folic acid in green vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli and green cabbage) or in dried beans. But it is difficult to consume enough of it.
Taking a multivitamin tablet every day is a smart idea. If you choose one that is made especially for pregnant women, you will get the recommended doses of folic acid and Vitamin D. Talk to your chemist.
And always discuss your intake of vitamins and/or dietary supplements with your LMC.