Health Watch - Pregnancy Preparation: Vitamin Needs

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about what prospective parents need to do before they get pregnant. A woman’s nutritional needs change during pregnancy, and women need to start adjusting to these changes before conception.

Pregnant women need more of some nutrients, but there are other nutrients that can be dangerous in large amounts. It’s important to get at least 400 milligrams a day of folic acid for the fetus’ nerve and spine development. Pregnant women also need 27 milligrams of iron a day and 80 to 85 milligrams a day of vitamin C. Vitamin A is best in the form of beta carotene instead of retinol, but you don’t generally need more of this during pregnancy.

A prenatal vitamin will provide the right balance of nutrients. But Dr. Victor Beshay, a fertility specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says prenatal vitamins aren’t a substitute for a healthy diet. Pregnant women still need to watch what they eat.

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April 2010


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