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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & Nutrients

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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & Nutrients
Summary
  • During pregnancy, women need to increase their intake of certain vitamins and minerals.
  • Usually these extra vitamins and minerals can be obtained from dietary sources.
  • Ask your health professional about the most suitable type of vitamins to take during your pregnancy.
Description

Pregnancy is the growth and development of a new individual, a baby, within a woman. It is important the mother receives sufficient amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.

This is intended as a general guide only. See your Doctor for advice.

FOLIC ACID (FOLATE)
Folic acid deficiency is strongly linked with the risk of having an infant with spina bifidaMerck Manual Home Edition. Spina Bifida. [cited 2002 Sept 16]. Available from: URL: http://www.merckhomeedition.com/home.html. or other neural tube defects. Folic acid supplements should be taken daily for three months before conception and during the first trimester. Women who have a family history of neural tube defects or who have had a baby with a neural tube defect should take 5mg of folate daily and other women should take 0.5mg of folate daily.1

OTHER VITAMINS AND MINERALS
During pregnancy, women need to increase their intake of certain vitamins and minerals, as described below. Usually these extra vitamins and minerals can be obtained from dietary sources.
VITAMIN A: Usual daily requirement for women of childbearing age: 750mcg. Women require an additional 450mcg of vitamin A while they are breastfeeding.

NIACIN (VITAMIN B3): Usual daily requirement: 13mg. Women require an additional 2 mg of niacin while they are pregnant and 5mg of niacin while they are breastfeeding.

THIAMIN (VITAMIN B1): Usual daily requirement: 0.8mg. Women require an additional 0.2 of thiamin while they are pregnant and 0.4mg of thiamin while they are breastfeeding.

Riboflavine (VITAMIN B2): Usual daily requirement: 1.2mg. Women require an additional 0.3mg of Riboflavine while they are pregnant and 0.5mg of Riboflavine while they are breastfeeding.

VITAMIN B6: Usual daily requirement: 0.9-1.4mg. Women require an additional 0.1mg of vitamin B6 while they are pregnant and 0.7-0.8 of vitamin B6 while they are breastfeeding.

VITAMIN B12: Usual daily requirement: 2mg. Women require an additional 1mg of vitamin B12 while they are pregnant and 0.5mg of vitamin B12 while they are breastfeeding.

VITAMIN C: Usual daily requirement: 30mg. Women require an additional 30mg of vitamin C while they are pregnant and 45mg of vitamin C while they are breastfeeding.

VITAMIN E: Usual daily requirement: 7mg. Women require an additional 2.5mg of vitamin E while they are breastfeeding.

ZINC: Usual daily requirement: 12mg. Women require and additional 4mg of zinc while they are pregnant and 6mg of zinc while they are breastfeeding.

IRON: Usual daily requirement: 12-16mg. Women require an additional 10mg of iron in their first trimester and 20mg of iron in their second trimester. A recent clinical study indicates that taking supplemental iron early in pregnancy may lead to an improvement in birth outcomes, specifically birth weight, regardless of the mother's iron status.2

IODINE: Usual daily requirement: 120mcg. Women require an additional 30 mcg of iodine while they are pregnant and 50mg of iodine while they are breastfeeding.

MAGNESIUM: Usual daily requirement: 270mg. Women require and additional 30mg of magnesium while they are pregnant and 70mg of magnesium while they are breastfeeding.

CALCIUM: Usual daily requirement: 800mg. Women require an additional 300mg of calcium while they are pregnant and 400mg of calcium while they are breastfeeding.

PHOSPHORUS: Usual daily requirement: 1000 mg. Women require an extra 200mg of phosphorus while they are pregnant and breastfeeding.

SELENIUM: Usual daily requirement: 70mcg. Women require an additional 10mcg of selenium while they are pregnant and 15mcg of selenium while they are breastfeeding.3

  • Management

    Lifestyle

    Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs
    1. Folic acid supplements should be taken by pregnant women to help avoid neural tube defects in the developing foetus. This is particularly important in the first trimester. Women who have a family history of neural tube defects or who have had a baby with a neural tube defect should take 5mg of folate daily and other women should take 0.5mg of folate daily.4

    2. A recent clinical study indicates that taking supplemental iron early in pregnancy may lead to an improvement in birth outcomes, specifically birth weight, regardless of the mother's iron status.5 Ask for advice about the most suitable type of iron to take during pregnancy.

    3. See the other Pregnancy topics on the Healthpoint.
  • Notes

    References

    1. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Guidelines for preventive activities in general practise. Updated 5th edition. Journal of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2002 May; 31 (Special Issue).
    2. Barclay L. Iron Supplementation Early in Pregnancy Improves Birth Outcomes. Medscape. www.medscape.com. 2003.
    3. Commonwealth of Australia. Recommended Dietary Intakes for use in Australia. 1991. (Reprinted 1998). [cited 2002 Sept 23]. Available from: URL: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/diet/n6p3.htm.
    4. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Guidelines for preventive activities in general practise. Updated 5th edition. Journal of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2002 May; 31 (Special Issue).
    5. Barclay L. Iron Supplementation Early in Pregnancy Improves Birth Outcomes. Medscape. www.medscape.com. 2003.
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