So, you are growing a life inside you, as you can imagine this is going to take a lot out of you. Below is a list of the vitamins and minerals your body will need some help with to grow your baby optimally. As food sources of the vitamins and minerals are best, I have listed good food sources for each below.  I have tried to stick to the basics here.  There are entire books written on this subject but below are the cliff notes.

 

Under each section there is a “Do you need a supplement? “question. For most of these the answer is “No” however, in a few cases it can be very difficult to get what your body needs during your pregnancy, just through a good diet.  This is not to say that I do not recommend a good prenatal vitamin during your pregnancy.  Think of it like an insurance policy, you probably won’t need it but if you do…

 

The basic vitamins and minerals to watch are:

 

Calcium

Daily amount: 700mg (800mg for teenagers)

Do you need a supplement? No (although supplementation can be helpful in the third trimester as calcium will help relieve leg cramps and if taken at bed time can help sleep. I recommend taking calcium/magnesium supplements together 500/250 mg)

Benefit to your baby: For strong bones and teeth, healthy nerves, heart and muscles. Also develops heart rhythm and blood clotting

Food source:

  • 200ml milk (240mg)
  • 200ml fortified soymilk (180mg)
  • 150g carton yogurt (210mg)
  • 1 naan bread (300mg)
  • 4 dried figs (200mg)

Chromium

Daily amount: No RNI

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Regulates blood sugar levels and helps tissue development

Food source:

  • 100g grilled skinless chicken (22mcg)
  • 1 slice wholegrain bread (16mcg)

Copper

Daily amount: 1.2mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps form heart, bone, nervous systems, arteries and blood vessels

Food source:

  • 80g cooked green lentils (0.3mg)
  • 20g plain cashew nuts (0.2mg)
  • 1 mango (0.18mg)

Folate (Not Folic Acid)

Daily amount: 300 micrograms (mcg). 400mcg supplement before conception and for the first three months of pregnancy

Do you need a supplement? Yes

Benefit to your baby: Helps close the tube housing the central nervous system. Also helps to normalise brain function

Food source:

  • 90g brussels sprouts (99mcg)
  • 45g bran flakes (166mcg)
  • 2 slices granary bread (64mcg)
  • 2 spears cooked broccoli (58mcg)
  • 1 large orange (65mcg)

Iodine

Daily amount: 140mcg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Regulates metabolism and helps develop the nervous system

Food source:

  • iodised table salt
  • fish
  • seaweed
  • milk
  • dairy products

Iron

Daily amount: 14.8mg

Do you need a supplement? Yes, if medically prescribed

Benefit to your baby: Makes red blood cells, supplies oxygen to cells for energy and growth, and builds bones and teeth

Food source:

  • 100g beef sirloin (2.4mg)
  • 3 tbsp cooked chick peas (1.5mg)
  • 100g cooked spring greens (1.4mg)
  • 45g bran flakes (12.1mg)
  • 200g baked beans (2.9mg)

Magnesium

Daily amount: 270mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps build strong bones and teeth, regulates insulin and blood-sugar levels, and builds and repairs tissue

Food source:

  • 7 brazil nuts (96mg)
  • 100g spinach (54mg)
  • 100g okra (71mg)
  • 180g cooked brown rice (77mg)

Manganese

Daily amount: No RNI

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps bone and pancreas development, and processing of fats and carbohydrates

Food source:

  • 7 pecan nuts (2.4mg)
  • 160g porridge (0.74mg)
  • 60g cooked black beans (0.3mg)

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Daily amount: No RNI

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Regulates stress hormones, antibodies and growth. Helps metabolism of protein and fat

Food source:

  • 1 medium hard-boiled egg (1.7mg)
  • half a medium avocado (0.8mg)
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk (1.6mg)

Phosphorus

Daily amount: 550mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Builds strong bones and teeth, and develops blood clotting and normal heart rhythm

Food source:

  • 100g canned salmon with bones (290mg)
  • 60g cooked pinto beans (90mg)
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk (188mg)
  • 60g hummus (96mcg)

Potassium

Daily amount: 3.5g

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps muscle activity and contractions, metabolism and nerve function

Food source:

  • 1 medium jacket potato (122mg)
  • 200ml grapefruit juice (200mg)
  • 30g raisins (306mg)
  • 1 medium banana (400mg) (limit your bananas to 1 to 2 per week, they are very high in sugar)

Riboflavin

Daily amount: 1.4mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Promotes growth, good vision, and healthy skin. Essential for bone, muscle and nerve development

Food source:

  • 150ml carton yogurt (0.3mg)
  • 100g pork fillet (0.4mg)
  • 50g mushrooms (0.2mg)
  • 50g half-fat cheddar (0.3mg)

Thiamine (vitamin B1)

Daily amount: 900mcg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Converts carbohydrates into energy. Essential for brain development. Also aids heart and nervous system growth

Food source:

  • 100g turkey breast (2.4mg)
  • 45g fortified breakfast cereal (0.47mg)
  • 1 naan bread (0.4mg)

Vitamin A (beta-carotene)

Daily amount: 700mcg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Cell growth, eye development, healthy skin and mucous membranes, infection resistance, bone growth, fat metabolism and red blood cell production

Food source:

  • 1 baked sweet potato (6682mcg)
  • 1 raw carrot (8351mcg)
  • 150g melon (2647mcg)
  • half a mango (772mcg)

Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine)

Daily amount: 1.2mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Helps to form new red blood cells and develop the brain and nervous system

Food source:

  • 1 medium banana (0.3mg)
  • 1 medium jacket potato (1mg)
  • 100g canned tuna (0.5mg)
  • 100g chicken breast (0.5mg)

Vitamin C

Daily amount: 50mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: For tissue repair and collagen production. Helps growth and strengthens bones and teeth

Food source:

  • 160ml orange juice (62mg)
  • 100g strawberries (77mg)
  • 2 spears broccoli (40mg)
  • 2 tomatoes (30mg)

Vitamin D

Daily amount: 10mcg

Do you need a supplement? Yes

Benefit to your baby: Helps build bones and teeth

Food source:

  • 100g salmon steak (8.7mcg)
  • 1 boiled egg (0.9mcg)
  • 2 tsp (10g) margarine (0.8mcg)

Zinc

Daily amount: 7mg

Do you need a supplement? No

Benefit to your baby: Helps form organs, skeleton, nerves and circulatory system

Food source:

  • 2 thick slices beef or lamb (5mg)
  • 16g sunflower seeds (0.8mg)
  • 100g canned sardines (2.3mg)

As your baby grows, so does your need for vitamins & mineral

About the Author

Jaelin Stickels
Certified Nurse Midwife at | 281-296-3043 | jaelin@sheis.com | + posts

Jaelin married her high school sweetheart (Ted) in 1984 and is the proud mother of 3 grown children (2 boys & a girl). She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a Master’s Degree from Georgetown and holds several other professional certifications related to health and wellness; currently, she is working on her Doctorate degree. Jaelin works as a Midwife and Nurse Practitioner with her business partner Andie Wyrick at Holistic Heritage Homebirth in the Woodlands Texas.