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Most Important Vitamins and Nutrients During Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Jul 05, 2021

Most Important Vitamins and Nutrients During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes, including added nutritional requirements for you and your growing baby. So knowing the most important vitamins and nutrients during this time is one of he best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

When you are pregnant, your baby’s access to all nutrients and vitamins will be through you. This is why you need to increase your intake of nutritious food as well as your consumption of vitamins. This is to ensure that your baby is growing healthily inside your tummy.

What are the most important vitamins for pregnancy?

Some people will say that all nutrients and vitamins are important but when it comes to pregnancy, there are 6 that play a key role in your baby’s growth and development during pregnancy. These are:

  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • DHA
  • Iodine
  • Folic Acid

    Folic acid is a vitamin that the body needs for healthy growth and development. When you have a baby inside your tummy, folic acid is needed to ensure the growth and development of the unborn child. This is why folic acid is one of the most important vitamins for pregnancy.

    Folic acid helps in preventing birth defects which is why it’s important for any woman who wants to become pregnant to start drinking folic acid at least 6 months before the target date of conception. Certain studies have shown that women who drink a lot of folic acids may help prevent heart defects and cleft palate in the baby.

    Folic acid can be sourced from vitamin supplements of 400 mcg. You can also drink prenatal vitamins that have folic acid in it. You should take one supplement a day for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

    Milk supplements that are meant for pregnant Mom also come with folic acid. Drink one cup a day to help ensure that you receive the right amount of folic acid. There are also certain foods that come with folic acids such as bread, cereal, pasta, white rice, broccoli, beans, and orange juice. Make sure that you stock up on this to help your baby’s growth and development.

    Vitamin D

    This is one of the most important vitamins in pregnancy because Vitamin D helps your body to absorb the calcium needed. It also aids when it comes to your body’s muscle, nerves, and immune system. This is important because your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your baby grow his teeth and bones.

    Vitamin D is also found in salmon and milk. Exposing yourself to morning sunlight for a brief time also helps your body to make natural Vitamin D. Be sure that you don’t overexpose yourself though as too much sun can lead to skin aging and cancer.

    What are the Most Important Nutrients for Pregnancy?


    Iron is what the body uses to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. When you are pregnant, you need twice as much iron since there are two of you that need it.

    Your body needs iron to make more blood so that your body can carry oxygen to your baby. Your baby also needs iron so that your child can make his own blood. At the time of pregnancy, your body needs 27 milligrams of iron every day.

    You can get iron from prenatal vitamins. There is also food that provides iron. Some of the best sources of iron are seafood such as shrimp and crab, lean meat, and poultry such as chicken and eggs. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and cabbage are also good sources of iron.


    Calcium is important in the development of the baby’s teeth, heart, muscles, nerves, and bones. 1,000 milligrams of calcium is needed daily to ensure that the baby’s growth is normal and on track. If you lack calcium intake, your body will take it from your bones to give to the baby. This is one of the ways your body protects the baby and ensures that the baby’s development will be okay.

    Calcium can be sourced from milk, cheese, vegetables, and even orange juice. Prenatal vitamins also have this since prenatal vitamins are usually packed to contain all of the most important vitamins in pregnancy.

    It’s important to note that if you don’t get enough calcium during your pregnancy, this can lead to health conditions like osteoporosis when you get older. Your bones will break easily because it has become thinner due to the fact that your body gave away calcium to your baby.


    This is probably something that you’ve heard in milk commercials. DHA actually stands for docosahexaenoic acid. It’s a kind of fat (called omega-3 fatty acid) that helps with the growth and development of the baby’s brain and eyes.

    It is important to note that not all prenatal vitamins have DHA so make sure that you ask your doctor for DHA supplements. If not, you can get DHA from fishes like trout, anchovies, halibut, herring, and salmon. Eating 8 to 12 ounces of these fish is enough on a weekly basis to get your DHA requirements. You can also add more orange juice, milk, and eggs that have DHA added to them.


    Iodine is necessary for the creation of thyroid hormones. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that makes the hormones needed to use and store energy from food.

    Iodine is important because it helps in the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. The nervous system is composed of the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. This will help the baby to feel, think, and move.

    Iodine is found in fish, milk, cheese enriched or fortified cereal as well as iodized salt.

    Key Takeaways

    Pregnancy is a time of celebration. It is also the best time to stock up on the most important vitamins for pregnancy to ensure that the baby will grow normal and healthy. Knowing what you need and where to get it should help ensure that you eat the right food everyday for you and your baby’s needs.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Jul 05, 2021

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