Super Supplements

Don't forget to take vitamin D and folic acid to help your baby develop

If you're not used to taking supplements, it can be hard to get in to the habit but because it's important to take vitamin D and folic acid when you're preganant, it's good to make them a part of your daily routine.

The experts recommend you take a 10 microgram dose of vitamin D every day.  This helps to control the amount of cacium in your body - and baby's - which you both need for healthy bones and strong teeth.  If you're planning on breastfeeding, it's advised to keep taking it after the birth too.

Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy can also hep protect against birth defects like spina bifida.  If you have already had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, you will need to take 5 milligrams (mg) of folic acide each day until the 12th week of pregnancy.  In addition, if you have diabetes or are taking anti-epileptic medicines, you should consult your GP for advice, as you may also need to take a higher dose of folic acid.

Top Tip

To get into the habit of taking your supplements regularly, keep them somewhere you'll see them each day.  What about by your toothbrush, so you'll remember to take them each morning or evening?  It'll be part of your daily routine in no time.

It's unlikely that you'll get enough vitamin D or folic acid to protect your baby just from the food you eat, which is why these supplements are recommended but it's still a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Super foods

Vitamins don't just come in tablets; there are plenty on your plate too.  Find iron in lean meat (but avoid liver as the amount of vitamin A it contains can be harmful to your baby) and green leafy veg like broccoli.  There's vitamin C in citrus fruits, blackcurrants and tomatoes, and bone-strengthening calcium in dairy products like milk and lower fat yoghurt.

Myth buster

"Aren't vitamins really expensive?"

Not at all.  As you are pregnant, you may be eligible to receive folic acid and vitamin D supplements for free.  Just search "Healthy Start Scheme" online to find out more.  You can also pick up a month's supply of folic acid or vitamin D at the supermarket for about £1.