Vitamin supplements in pregnancy

You should get enough of the vitamins you need from a healthy diet. But some vitamins are particularly important in pregnancy and you are recommended to take these as supplements to make sure that you and your baby get the right levels to stay  healthy 

These vitamin supplements are recommended for pregnancy:

Folic acid: helps to reduce the risk of spina bifida, heart or limb defects and some brain tumours in babies

Pregnant women are advised to start taking a daily dose of 400 micrograms (µg) of folic acid before getting pregnant and continue taking them until 12 weeks’ gestation. If you did not take folic acid before you became pregnant you can still start taking it as soon as you realise you are expecting a baby

Vitamin D: supplements can improve a baby’s growth and reduce the risk of developing rickets (a disease that results in weak bones in children)

Pregnant women are advised to take a daily dose of 10 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D. Some people are at particular risk of having low Vitamin D and may be advised to take a higher daily dose

Should I be taking multivitamins during pregnancy?

It’s best to take supplements individually rather than as a multivitamin tablet. Most multivitamin supplements are not made specifically for pregnant women and may contain high levels of other vitamins, such as vitamin A, which may be harmful to the baby

Do I need to take an iron supplement?

Most pregnant women do not need to take iron supplements. Your midwife or doctor should let you know if you need iron supplements because tests show you are anaemic or at increased risk of becoming anaemic in pregnancy, for example, if you are carrying twins. Speak to a midwife or doctor if you are worried about your iron levels or are unsure whether you need iron supplements.

More information

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has information about vitamins and healthy eating in pregnancy