My last blog was about the 4 main supplements required by Mums-to-be.  Now I am going to list the remaining ones essential during pregnancy and lactation, why they are required, food sources that contain them and the recommended reference nutrient intake (RNI). 

It is useful to have an understanding of the function of each vitamin/mineral required. But as long as Mum knows where to source them and what amount to take each day, then this is all that really matters. 

Maintaining a healthy, nourishing diet is essential not only for a growing baby but also for Mum, as a lot of demands will be placed upon her body during the 9 months of development and during/after birth and into breast-feeding.

Below you will find a table of all of the important things you need in your diet. Each one has the RNI, or Reference Nutrient Intake – this is how much you should be having each day. (These are the RNI for a Woman ages 19-50).

I have also included the recommended increase for during pregnancy, and during lactation. 
The measurements are show in mcg (micrograms) and mg (milligrams).

Vitamin

Main Function

Sources

(RNI)

E

Antioxidant, protects the cell membranes from damage by oxidation.

Veg oils, nuts, veg, cereals, prawns (cooked), soya beans and sunflower seeds.

No RNI in the UK, but 4mg/day is adequate.

Pregnancy – No Increase.

Lactation – No increase. 

K

Essential for the formation of blood clotting proteins, prothrombin in particular.

Dark green leafy veg, e.g. cabbage, sprouts, spinach, plus other green veg.

No RNI but 1mcg/kg is adequate and safe. 
Pregnancy – No increase.
Lactation – No increase.

C

Aids the production of collagen, protein sued int he structure of connective tissue and bone. Also assists wound healing and iron absorption, plus it has strong antioxidant properties.

Fresh fruits, particularly citrus and green veg.

40mg/day.

Pregnancy +10mg/day.

Lactation +30mg/day.

 

Thiamin (B1)

Essential for the brain and nerves. 

Cereals, nuts and pulses are rich sources. Green + root veg, port, fruits and fortified cereals (watch for sugar content).

0.8mg/day.

Pregnancy +0.1mg/day in the last trimester only.

Lactation +0.2mg/day.

 

Riboflavin (B2)

Used in Energy release, particularly from fat and protein.

Sources rich includes:

Liver, milk, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, green veg, yeast extract, fortified cereals.

 

1.1mg/day.

Pregnancy +0.3mg/day.

Lactation +0.5mg/day.

 

Niacin (B3)

Assists with energy production, production and breakdown of glucose, amino and fatty acids, and the metabolism of folate and Vit C. Also required for the development and function of skin, nervous system and vital for the manufacture of DNA.

Sources include:

Liver, Shellfish (cooked), nuts, seeds, legumes, outer parts of cereal (rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye and millet).

13mg/day

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation +2mg/day.

 

B6

Attributed to many biological reactions associated with amino acid metabolism. Also plays a role in fat and in muscle glycogen metabolism. 

Sources rich in B6 include:

Liver, meat, whole cereals, salmon, peanuts, walnuts, bananas.

 

1.2mg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation – no increase.

 

B12

Assists growth and development. Also has a vital role with folate for the production of red blood cells and for the protection and function of nerve cells.

Sources include:

Offal and meat, eggs, milk, fortified cereals.

NB – Vegetarians may need to supplement this.

 

1.5mcg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation +0.5mcg/day.

 

Calcium

Essential for the formation and maintenance of bones, teeth, blood clotting and nerve function.

Sources include:

Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt, Canned Fish.

Also:

Dark green leafy veg, white flour, bread.

 

700mg/day.

Pregnancy – No increase.

Lactation +550mg/day.

 

Magnesium

Essential for the formation of bones and teeth. With the help of calcium, sodium and potassium, it also helps to transmit nerve signals and muscle contraction.

Sources include:

Meat, animal products, wholegrain cereals, nuts, spinach.

 

270mg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation +50mg/day.

 

Iron

Extremely vital component of haemoglobin which is involved in oxygen transportation.

Red meat and offal and excellent sources, as well as fortified cereals. Vegetarians may need to supplement this. 

14.8mg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation – no increase.

 

Zinc

Exists in all tissues. Important for growth, repair and sexual maturation. It is a vital antioxidant, key to the body’s anti-oxidant defences and involved in the major metabolic pathways. Finally, vital for supporting the body’s immune system.

Sources include:

Meat, eggs, wholegrain cereals, milk, other dairy products.

7mg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation 0-4months = +6mg/day. After 4 months = +2.5mg/day.

 

Copper

Component of the body’s antioxidant defence system and also assists with the metabolism of iron.

Sources include:

Liver, shellfish (cooked), nuts, seeds, legumes, outer parts of cereals (rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye and millet)

 

1.2mg/day.

Pregnancy – in increase.

Lactation +0.3mg/day.

 

Selenium

Helps protect the cell structure against the harmful effects of oxidative damage.

Sources include:

Meat, fish, eggs, grains, brazil nuts.

 

60mcg/day.

Pregnancy – no increase.

Lactation +15mcg/day.

 

(Source: ‘Future Fit’)