Vitamin C and Pregnancy
How much vitamin C in pregnancy is enough?
Like many other vitamins and minerals, the right amount of vitamin C is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin goes hand-in-hand with a strong immune system, helping your body to fight off infections and repair wounds. In pregnancy, vitamin C does even more for your health, and a deficiency can spell trouble for both you and your baby. Learn why vitamin C in pregnancy is so important, how much to take in and how to adjust your diet or lifestyle to ensure you're getting the right amount.
Vitamin C, Pregnancy and your Baby's Development
As your baby grows and your body adapts to pregnancy, you'll need to ensure your body can repair itself and protect the fetus against potentially damaging illness. Vitamin C is a powerful weapon when it comes to tissue repair, bone growth and cell protection: it acts like an antioxidant and will stimulate collagen production. It will also help boost your immunity, which is particularly important during pregnancy, when your immune system is naturally suppressed.
In addition to increasing immunity and healing ability, Vitamin C will help your body absorb iron, which will reduce your risk of contracting anemia during pregnancy. For some women, correcting a slight iron deficiency could be as simple as combining foods rich in vitamin C with iron-rich foods at each meal.
On the other hand, there is a connection between vitamin C and pregnancy problems. Too much of the vitamin can increase your risk of preterm labor and birth, scurvy in the baby after birth and stomach upset for you. So, how much vitamin C in pregnancy is too much? Well, experts recommend that expectant mothers take at least 85mg of vitamin C and no more than 2000mg every day.
Taking Vitamin C Supplements
Due to the fine balance between its benefits and side effects, Vitamin C in pregnancy should be monitored fairly closely. The best sources of vitamin C are fresh produce, mostly citrus fruits and dark green leafy veggies. Berries, bell peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes and sweet potato are other good sources of ascorbic acid, so use a colorful selection of fresh ingredients in your cooking to keep meals interesting and nutritious. Luckily, it's easy to get your daily requirements of vitamin C through food, so most pregnant women will not need a separate supplement.
If you're used to taking vitamin C pills to fight off colds and flu, you may want to rethink your strategy. While a little more vitamin C in the form of a pill or supplement should be alright, it probably won't make a huge difference to your immunity, and if you're unwittingly getting vitamin C through fortified foods throughout the day plus your prenatal vitamin, you could exceed the recommended daily amount without realizing it. If you are worried about your vitamin C levels, start by modifying your diet instead of introducing synthetic supplements.