Folic acid is a vitamin important for the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking extra folic acid in early pregnancy can reduce the risk of developmental problems in your baby’s brain and spina bifida. Ideally, you should start taking folic acid from at least one month before you conceive and up to the end of the 12th week of pregnancy. The recommended dose is 800 micrograms (0.8 milligrams) per day. This is available over the counter at any chemist. We can also prescribe folic acid for you if you prefer. Some pregnancy vitamins available over the counter do not contain enough folic acid so check with your chemist when buying a pregnancy vitamin supplement. Elevit contains the correct dose of folic acid.
You can also increase your dietary intake of folate and folic acid. Important sources of folate and folic acid include well-washed, fresh, raw or lightly cooked leafy green vegetables, fruits and juices and some fortified breads and cereals. You can download the Ministry of Health’s leaflet on folic acid here and their booklet “Eating for Healthy Pregnant Women” here.
Iodine is an essential nutrient for your baby’s brain development and growth. Iodine requirements increase during pregnancy and it is sometimes difficult to get enough iodine from diet alone. The Ministry of Health recommends that all women take additional iodine supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The recommended dose is 150 micrograms (0.15 milligrams) daily. Iodine supplements suitable for pregnancy can be purchased over the counter at any pharmacy. We can provide you with a prescription for iodine if you prefer.
Seaweed and kelp based “natural” supplements contain very variable concentrations of iodine and are not recommended for pregnant women. Elevit contains the correct dose of iodine.
You can download a copy of the Ministry of Health’s leaflet on iodine here.
Your body needs vitamin D to maintain healthy levels of calcium and build your baby’s bones and teeth. Sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D in New Zealand. Spending some time outside each day especially during the winter will help you make vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in oily fish, eggs and some dairy products. You are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D if you have darker skin or avoid sun exposure completely. If you are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency we can prescribe vitamin D as monthly 1.25mg tablet. You can read the Ministry of Health’s leaflet on vitamin D in pregnancy here.