Vitamins and supplements in pregnancy
You’ll get most of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy, varied diet. Please see our guide on how to get the right nutrients during pregnancy. But when you’re pregnant you also need to take some supplements to support a healthy pregnancy, these include Folic acid and Vitamin D.
Folic acid is very important for your pregnancy, as it can prevent birth defects known as ‘neural tube defects’, including spina bifida. It’s best to start taking folic acid as soon as you start trying for a baby, or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Certain foods contain the natural form of folic acid (folate) While it’s good to include these foods in your diet, you’ll still need to take your folic acid supplements. You’ll need 400 micrograms (mcg) every day until the end of your first trimester (12 weeks). Ask your GP or pharmacist.
Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the body (needed to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy). The main source of vitamin D is sunlight and it is difficult to get a sufficient amount from the diet. You should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms a day. These are available from most pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers. This is especially important as we are at home a lot more at the moment. If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
PHE are recommending that during this time if you are not going outside often everyone should take a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms daily. This advice is specifically about protecting bone and muscle health and not reducing the risk of infectious diseases.