Vitamin C In Pregnancy - How Much Do You Need?

Vitamin C In Pregnancy - How Much Do You Need?

Why You Need Vitamin C During Pregnancy

Vitamin C is vital for both maternal and fetal health during pregnancy, as it serves various essential functions in the body. One of its key roles is in collagen production, a structural protein crucial for the development of cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin, benefiting both you and your baby.

Also referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C plays a pivotal role in tissue repair, wound healing, bone growth and repair, and maintaining healthy skin. Moreover, it supports a robust immune system by aiding in fighting infections and acting as an antioxidant to shield cells from damage. Additionally, vitamin C enhances iron absorption, particularly from vegetarian sources.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include fatigue, gum inflammation, slow wound healing, bruises, and dry skin, underscoring its importance in maintaining overall health during pregnancy.

To ensure sufficient intake of vitamin C during pregnancy, incorporating citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet is recommended. Given that meeting vitamin C requirements is generally achievable through dietary sources and prenatal vitamins, supplementation with vitamin C may not be necessary for most pregnant women.

Determining Vitamin C Requirements for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

The daily recommended intake of vitamin C increases for pregnant and breastfeeding women compared to those who are not pregnant or lactating.

For pregnant women:

  • Ages 18 and younger: 80 milligrams (mg) per day
  • Ages 19 and older: 85 mg per day

For breastfeeding women:

  • Ages 18 and younger: 115 mg per day
  • Ages 19 and older: 120 mg per day

Additionally, for nonpregnant women:

  • Ages 18 and younger: 65 mg per day
  • Ages 19 and older: 75 mg per day

Top Sources of Vitamin C for Pregnancy

While citrus fruits are often the go-to for vitamin C, it's important to explore other options too. Leafy greens and various fruits and vegetables are also rich in this essential nutrient. Opting for fresh foods is key to preserving the potency of vitamin C, as heat can degrade it. Additionally, some cereals and juices are fortified with vitamin C, providing additional sources. You can also addon vitamin C tablets and supplements for covering daily dietary intake to fulfill your body requirements

Moreover, vitamin C plays a crucial role in enhancing iron absorption from other foods, which is particularly important during pregnancy when iron needs increase significantly and meeting the requirement can be challenging. Including a vitamin C-rich food with every meal is advisable, especially when consuming vegetarian iron sources like beans. Vitamin C aids in absorbing iron efficiently, potentially boosting absorption by up to six times.

Here are some foods that are excellent sources of vitamin C:

  • 100 Gram of orange juice: 50 mg
  • 100 Gram of green and gold kiwifruit: 92.7 and 161.3 mg
  • 100 Gram of tomato: 13.7 mg
  • 100 Gram of spinach:28.1 mg
  • 100 Gram of grapefruit juice: 38 mg
  • 100 Gram of strawberries: 58.8 mg
  • 100 Gram of broccoli: 89.2 mg

Is a Vitamin C Supplement Necessary During Pregnancy?

Typically, taking an additional supplement is unnecessary. The vitamin C required can be obtained easily from fruits, vegetables, and prenatal vitamins, which usually include vitamin C.

However, it's advisable to avoid consuming large doses of vitamin C during pregnancy. The maximum safe daily intake is 1800 mg for women aged 18 and younger, and 2000 mg for those aged 19 and older. Excessive intake of vitamin C can lead to stomach upset, and further research is necessary to fully comprehend the potential impact of these dietary supplements on pregnancy outcomes.