When you’re expecting a baby and you want to do the best for your own health and the health of your baby. So should you be taking food supplements? It turns out to be a trickier question than you might think. There’s one exception, which is that all women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before pregnancy and throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of defects in the baby’s spinal cord. It is ideal to get enough nutrients during pregnancy from food sources, but taking a supplement can be a pragmatic response to a lack of certain vitamins and minerals.
Supplementation of a mother’s diet during pregnancy may take the form of additional energy, protein, vitamins or minerals that exceed her routine daily intake. The more compromised the nutritional status of the woman, the greater is the benefit for pregnancy outcome with improved diet and nutritional supplementation.
A balanced diet that results in appropriate weight gain during pregnancy generally supplies the required vitamins and minerals needed for pregnancy.
Woman, who need additional supplementation:
Undernourished woman in high risk pregnancies;
Woman with substance abuse;
Woman with short interval between pregnancies;
Woman with a history of delivering a low birth weight infant;
Woman with multiple gestations.
There should be no need for pregnant women to take supplements if their diet is good with five or more fruit and vegetable a day, enough protein and carbohydrates and sufficient calcium.