Is Vitamin A Toxic During Pregnancy?
Do you enjoy liver dishes? Great news if you do, because liver products are rich in Vitamin A! Vitamin A supports your and baby’s immune system during pregnancy. Too much of it, however, may affect your health. Find out what's optimum for you.
We all look forward to the day we can look into our baby’s eyes! Vitamin A is the secret sauce that contributes to the normal development of those beautiful organs9, as well as air sacs in your baby’s lungs2.
Vitamin A also supports both your and your baby’s immune system throughout pregnancy1. Hence, if you don’t supply enough Vitamin A to your baby, it may become more susceptible to infection and illness after birth6.
How Much Do I Need?
As all good things, moderation is key to maintaining a strong and healthy body. The same goes for Vitamin A! Too much can harm your developing baby and lead to birth defects1, and too little carries health risks to you and your baby3.
The recommended amount of Vitamin A that you need during pregnancy is slightly higher than normal, at 700 mcg per day7. Once you start breastfeeding, your needs will increase further, to 1,300 mcg per day7.
Vitamin A is available in two forms:
• Retinol — found in high levels in some meat and fish products, and in safe levels in eggs and dairy foods such as cheese, fortified spreads and yoghurt1
• Beta-carotene — a substance in orange fruit and vegetables, such as carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes and apricots, that the body can convert into vitamin A1
Since Vitamin A is prevalent in dairy foods and some fruits and vegetables, we can get all the Vitamin A we need from a well-balanced diet! During pregnancy, however, steer clear of foods that are too rich in Vitamin A, such as liver and liver pâté, as well as non-pregnancy supplements like cod liver oil, to keep your baby safe from harmful consequences.
Maintain a healthy intake of Vitamin A! Tips include:
• Avoiding supplements that contain Vitamin A
• Avoiding liver or liver products like pâté
• Including plenty of orange-coloured fruit and vegetables as a part of a healthy balanced diet, as well as dairy foods and eggs
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Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.