Pregnancy: vitamins and minerals necessary for pregnant women


During these nine months that you are carrying a child, your body has higher needs for vitamins and minerals. The basis above all remains having a balanced and varied diet, to give the baby all the nutrients he needs. But sometimes the body needs with a helping hand to get your daily intake, and supplementation will help the body function properly.

Why take food supplements when you are pregnant?

Ideally, it is advisable to take pregnancy vitamins as soon as the desire to have a child is there, or that there is a pregnancy plan. You will probably talk about this during the preconception consultation.

Folic acid during the preconception period

It is recommended to take folic acid (or vitamin B9) during the periconceptional period (period around conception), recommends Cécile Martel, private midwife in Lyon.

“This folic acid will be used to close the baby’s neural tube.” What reduces the risk of neural tube defects (birth defect called spina bifida that occurs during the first month after conception).

It is recommended to take four to eight weeks before conception. Taking folic acid continues at the start of pregnancy: “You must take folic acid up to twelve weeks, at a rate of one tablet per day,” indicates the midwife.

Warning: you must take folic acid alone. In vitamin supplements found in pharmacies, folic acid is not present in large enough quantities to be effective.

Where to buy food supplements when you are pregnant?

You can usually find “vitamin cocktails” in pharmacies. These multivitamin supplements sold commercially without a prescription bring together all the vitamins recommended for the proper development of the fetus : zinc, vitamins, iron, magnesium, etc. However, these multivitamin cocktails are criticized by specialists, who point out their ineffectiveness, because too small quantities present in the mixture.

You can buy vitamin supplements on your own at your local pharmacy, but I do not recommend it because the quantities are minimal. We eliminate everything while urinating. Vitamins and minerals do not bind, and taking them is therefore useless. Cécilia Martel

It is therefore recommended that you contact your doctor, gynecologist or midwife, who will prescribe prescription food supplements, which contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals.

What vitamins and minerals to take when you are pregnant?

During pregnancy, several vitamins and minerals are essential. If the pregnant woman has any deficiency, or if it manifests symptoms that certain food supplements could improve or relievethe midwife or doctor will prescribe prescription vitamin supplements.

The iron

THE iron needs increase during the nine months of pregnancy. If they are to be covered by A balanced diet, some women have a deficiency. “We prescribe iron, but not to all pregnant women. We first take a blood test to find out if the patient is anemic, and if there is an iron deficiency. If so, I prescribe iron in a much increased dose than what we find in stores,” explains Cécilia Martel. Conclusion: iron supplementation is not systematic.


Magnesium is one of the mineral elements essential for the proper functioning of our body. “It is possible to prescribe magnesium if the pregnant woman complains of cramps, of ants in the fingers or in the legs during her pregnancy,” says the midwife. It's like iron: this supplement is not given systematically, only when indicated.

Magnesium is given in large quantities, two capsules three times a day – again, nothing like what you find commercially. Cécilia Martel

Vitamin D

She is known for her ability to absorb calcium present in food, useful for fixing the bones. We then understand the importance of vitamin D in the formation of the bones of your future baby, during pregnancy. Vitamin D also contributes to cell growth, and the proper development of immune system.

It is naturally produced by the body thanks to the sun. Lately, as we are less often exposed to the sun's rays due to constraints linked to the pandemic, you will be entitled to vitamin D supplementation systematically, in the sixth month of pregnancy.

An ampoule of vitamin D of one million units is prescribed. Before, we only did this in winter, but now that people go out a little less, we give it systematically. Cécilia Martel

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (or folate) is naturally present in certain foods: lentils, green vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc.), legumes, eggs, etc. It is an important nutrient that will help the body has fix the iron. “I give vitamin B9 during pregnancy, only when I cannot fix the iron in expectant mothers who are anemic », observes the midwife.


It is often recommended to take iodine supplements during pregnancy, as it reduces the likelihood of developing hyperthyroidism after pregnancy. But to date there are not enough randomized studies to demonstrate the real advantages and disadvantages of iodine before, during and after pregnancy (source 1), and this supplement is no longer given systematically today.

Pregnancy: when to start taking supplements?

Don't know when to start taking your vitamins? Overall, taking a vitamin supplement intended for pregnant women is recommended throughout the pregnancy. Certain food supplements are recommended before pregnancy, such as folic acid, others at the beginning, others at the sixth month, such as vitamin D… And others, simply when symptoms appear, reflecting a deficiency in something! It could be fatigue, cramps, anemia…

As indicated above, you can take vitamin supplements on your own during pregnancy, by purchasing a “pharmacy cocktail” yourself in stores, generally in pharmacies. But many specialists advise against it, preferring prescribe by prescription a suitable and measured dietary compliment, when this proves necessary.

Pregnant, what vitamin to take against fatigue?

First of all, before even turning to food supplements, try to favor a diet rich in calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin B9. Also eat proteins and lipids. The goal is to consume everything in a balanced and healthy way.

Concerning the taking of vitamin supplements, fatigue generally results in an iron deficiency: iron is therefore prescribed. In any case, if you are very very tired, do not hesitate to consult your doctor or midwife.

What foods are recommended during pregnancy?

Food supplements provide the nutritional needs necessary for the baby, but above all it is through food that you will give your child what he needs to develop well and grow well. Here is a non-exhaustive list of foods to favor during pregnancy, and their intake.

Vitamin B9

A varied and balanced diet fruits and vegetables normally gives you enough vitamins B9 or folate.

Vitamin B9 is mainly found in the following foods:

  • THE dark green vegetables (spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.);
  • The yeast ;
  • THE nut ;
  • THE Chickpeas.

The iron

Iron is present in the following foods:

  • The meat (once or twice a day);
  • The poisson (once or twice a week);
  • THE dried vegetables and legumes (white, red beans, chickpeas, lentils);
  • THE dark green vegetables;
  • Also consume orange juice, grapefruit juicethis vitamin C helps you fix iron.

Vitamin D

You will find it in:


You will find it in:

  • THE prunes ;
  • THE whole grain products (bread, flour, oats, rice, pasta, etc.).
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