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Supplements in Pregnancy

pregnancy Mar 18, 2020

Pregnancy is such an important time in our lives, and one that we want to do our very best to give our well little baby the best start in life that we can!  So we should take lots of supplements right? 




If you are consuming a healthy diet (especially pre pregnancy) you really should be getting most of what you need.  We recognize that during the first trimester some women are quite nauseous!! This is why we encourage people to think about planning for pregnancy if at all possible!  I like to say….your baby is the ultimate parasite...they will suck what they need out of you!....


The other thing about supplements, is they are not actually controlled by the government, so we don't actually know what is in them! They are also very expensive, so save that money for all the extra costs that come with having a baby! 


What do you need? 


  • Folic acid - all women should be taking at least 400mcg of folic acid daily pre-pregnancy and through the first trimester.  Many of our supplements actually come as 1000 mcg which is totally safe to take. Folic acid helps to prevent the abnormal development of the base of the baby's spine which can result in Spina Bifida.  There are some women who should be taking 5000mcg per day of folic acid during this time. These women include:
    • Family history of an open neural tube defect (yourself, spouse, child or another close family member)
    • If you have diabetes
    • If you are taking medication for seizures/epilepsy
    • If you are taking HIV medication


  • Vitamin D - all people in Canada (and other northern hemisphere countries) should be taking a vitamin D supplement daily.  The doses recommended are:
    • 400 IU daily for infants
    • 600 IU daily for children
    • 1000 IU daily for adults


  • Iron - most women who have been menstruating regularly are low in iron at the start of their pregnancies, and our babies use our iron stores to create their own red blood cells.  As a result, many women need to take iron at some point during their pregnancies. Your care provider should check your iron at least twice during your pregnancy (around 8 weeks and 28 weeks) and if you are low on iron they will suggest a supplement.  It is important to take this at least two hours away from any dairy or calcium, as this does not allow your body to absorb it. We recommend you take ferrous fumarate 300mg every second day, with a bit of vitamin C.  


  • Calcium - it is recommended that women take in between 1.5 and 2.0 grams of elemental calcium daily.  The best way to do this is through your food, but if you are not able to do this, you can make up the difference with a supplement.   To find out approximately how much calcium you are taking in on an average day use this calculator: https://osteoporosis.ca/bone-health-osteoporosis/calcium-calculator/#page-1


  • B12 - if you are vegan, or eat very little animal products, you will have to boost your b12 intake and take a supplement.  We recommend 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily, either from food or in supplement form. 


So do you need a fancy prenatal vitamin? Nope...sometimes it is just more convenient to take, but you certainly don't need it.  Also, they frequently make women in the first trimester feel nauseous!

Learn more about how to get important vitamins and minerals from your food in our podcast! 



She Found Health is meant for general medical information only. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This does not apply to every situation.  If you have questions, or if you have received different advice please contact your health care provider.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

The views expressed by She Found Health and our guests are not representative of any institution with which we are affiliated. 


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