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 

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

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

Most pregnant women do not need to take iron supplements. You only need to take iron if tests show you are anaemic or you are at increased risk of becoming anaemic in pregnancy, for example if you are carrying twins. Your midwife or doctor will advise you

More information

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