Vitamin A plays an important part in your pregnancy – it plays an important role in the development of the following:
- embryonic development
- healthy skin
- mucous membranes
- infection resistance
- bone growth
- fat metabolism
Not only is it important for your baby’s development, but also for you. Vitamin A helps with postpartum tissue repair, helps maintain normal vision and assists in fighting off infections.
How much vitamin A do I need?
The recommended daily allowance is 770 micrograms of vitamin A per day during pregnancy and post pregnancy. When you are breast feeding you will need to increase that amount to 1,300 mcg per day.
It may sound like a lot, but it is actually pretty easy since Vitmain A is found in such a wide variety of different foods, such as:
- Fortified cereals
- Fruits and vegetables (beta-carotene form)
Preformed Vitamin A is found in supplements, animal sources (meat, diary, etc) and fortified food sources and is recommended that you limit your intake of these kinds of Vitamin A to 3,000mcg. Why, well because it has been found that high doses of preformed Vitamin A may lead to birth defects and liver toxicity.
Some over the counter prenatal vitamins contain excessive amounts of preformed vitamin A, although most will contain Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, the good Vitmamin A form. Be sure to discuss prenatal vitamins with your healthcare provider and always check the labels.
Special Note: The acne drug isotretinoin, also known as Accutane, contains a high level of vitamin A, and should be avoided if you are trying to fall pregnant or are currently pregnant. You should also stay away from drugs or treatments which contain retinol or Rein-A for the same reason.
Should I take a vitamin A supplement?
If you are following a healthy eating plan, especially plenty of fruits and vegetables, and taking a good quality prenatal supplement, then there is no reason as to why you would need to take an additional vitamin A supplement.
Good food sources of vitamin A?
Well considering that you will want to get as much of your vitamin A in the beta-carotene form, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially oranges, yellow fruits and leafy vegetables. Of course you can also get vitamin A from meat, eggs, dairy products and cereals.
- 1 baked sweet potato: 1,403 mcg
- 1 cup cooked carrots: 1,342 mcg
- 1 cup boiled spinach: 1,146 mcg
- 1 piece pumpkin pie: 660 mcg
- 1 raw carrot: 433 mcg
- 1 cup boiled butternut squash: 401 mcg
- 1 packet instant oatmeal: 285 mcg
- 1 cup nonfat fortified milk: 145 mcg