Do women need Vitamin A in pregnancy?In this article, we explore why it’s important to have Vitamin A in your diet, how much you need of it and the effects of not having enough and too much of it, as well as answer some of the most commonly-asked questions being asked about Vitamin A and pregnancy right now.
Vitamin A is responsible for making sure several highly important areas – vision, breathing and immunity – take place when it comes to a baby’s development. One of the main ‘jobs’ for Vitamin A is helping make sure babies’ eyes develop as they should and they have a healthy immune system too.
But Vitamin A’s role doesn’t stop there. It also babies’ skin cells to form and helps the tiny air sacs within their lungs to develop. These sacs enable oxygen to flow into their blood and for carbon dioxide to flow back out.Making sure you have healthy Vitamin A levels during pregnancy increases the chance of your baby being born with good levels of Vitamin A to see them through those initial few weeks and months. Babies that are lacking in Vitamin A can potentially have a weaker immune system and are therefore more prone to developing infections and illnesses.1
It’s important to make sure you don’t have too much or too little, but just enough Vitamin A in your body when you are pregnant.This is because too much Vitamin A may impact the development of your baby, which includes slowing it down, and potentially lead to birth defects.2 Low Vitamin A stores can also lead to pregnant women developing anaemia.3 On the other hand, low Vitamin A levels can also potentially impact your baby’s development too.4 Ideally, you should get all the Vitamin A you need from your diet. In fact, the NHS recommends pregnant women shouldn’t take supplements, which includes fish liver oil supplements, to up their levels.5 They should also steer clear of liver and liver products, such as pate, because of their high Vitamin A content.6 If you decide to take a multivitamin tablet during pregnancy, check the small print to make sure they don’t contain Vitamin A.7 The Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A is 700 to 900 mcg a day for adults. The maximum daily limit is 3,000 mcg, anything over this level is deemed unsafe.8 Eating liver or liver pate just once a week, can potentially mean you’re getting more than your daily average of 1.5mg of Vitamin A.9
If you’re pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, then it’s highly advised you steer clear of Vitamin A supplements and get your intake via your food (being mindful that your levels are in the line with the current RDA guidance).
Put all of the ingredients, the orange, carrot, celery and mango, in a blender, top up with water, then blitz until smooth.
Vitamin A for newborns plays an incredibly important role, as Vitamin A impacts both mum and baby in a number of different ways.
The bottom line is: pregnant women should not take any form of Vitamin A, not even cod liver oil, and get their intake via their food. However, it’s important to steer clear of Vitamin A-rich food, such as liver and liver pate.While you’re here, we think you may like this – ‘What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?’
Last updated: 10 November 2020