Vitamin C While Pregnant: Understanding the Role of This Nutrient
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports both the mother's and baby’s health.
- Pregnant women have an increased need for vitamin C, and several factors can affect the amount of vitamin C they consume.
- Taking vitamin C supplements can help you avoid a deficiency of vitamin C while pregnant.
Pregnancy often comes with new health concerns. One of the most pressing issues pregnant women worry about is their nutrition. As an expecting mother, your body needs more nutrients to support the baby’s development and your own health.
There’s a lot of controversy around important micronutrients such as vitamin C while pregnant. If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you need to know a few things about vitamin C during pregnancy. In this article, we’ll look into the role of vitamin C while pregnant, how much you need, and how to ensure you get enough of this nutrient. Let’s dive in.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin your body needs in small amounts to maintain good health. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning the body can’t synthesize enough of it so it must be obtained from the diet.
Because it's water-soluble, vitamin C can’t be stored by the body since it’s easily lost in the urine. You need to regularly replenish vitamin C to prevent deficiencies of the nutrient.
Why Do You Need Vitamin C While Pregnant?
Let’s begin by mentioning that you need vitamin C through all the stages of life. However, your body’s vitamin C requirement is especially high during pregnancy. Vitamin C is a vital nutrient both you and your developing baby need to be healthy.
The health benefits of Vitamin C include:
1. Boosts Immunity
Every pregnant woman dreads getting ill during pregnancy due to possible undesirable effects on the pregnancy. For you to have a healthy pregnancy, you need a healthy immune system to fight germs that cause infections.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients that boost your immunity. A strong immune system will not only help you fight illnesses but it’ll also reduce the intensity and shorten the duration of an illness.
2. Improves Iron Absorption
Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron, a mineral that’s required to make red blood cells. Red blood cells are the means through which oxygen is transported around the body.
Both mom and baby must have enough red blood cells during pregnancy. Anemia, or lack of enough red blood cells, can result in poor pregnancy outcomes such as preterm labor.
As a rule of thumb, healthcare professionals recommend taking both iron and folic acid supplements during pregnancy. It’s advisable to take these supplements with a source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, to boost the absorption of iron.
3. Promotes Your Baby’s Growth and Development
Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of collagen, a structural protein that is a component of bones, ligaments, tendons, and the skin.
By promoting collagen formation, Vitamin C supports the growth and development of your baby. Pregnant women who have low levels of vitamin C are more likely to have babies with low birth weight.
Ensure you also get enough calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your baby’s bones.
4. Helps in Tissue Repair and Wound Healing
Collagen is also required for tissue repair and wound healing. Labor usually causes a lot of tissue destruction.
Having enough vitamin C can facilitate these processes. Poor wound healing is one of the signs of vitamin C deficiency.
5. Reduces the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes refers to a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy in previously non-diabetic women.
Research shows that vitamin C consumption can independently lower the risk of gestational diabetes. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces the effect of toxic oxygen species, which are thought to contribute to gestational diabetes.
Because it’s an antioxidant, vitamin C can also help you have a healthy skin.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need During Pregnancy?
The amount of vitamin C your body needs per day increases by up to 67% during pregnancy. The daily requirement for vitamin C during pregnancy is estimated by the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
The RDA gives an average intake, which is enough to meet your daily requirements. According to the National Institutes of Health, the RDAs for vitamin C during pregnancy are:
- 14-18 years: 80 mg
- 19+ years: 85 mg
If your vitamin C intake is lower than the RDA, you risk suffering from the effects of vitamin C deficiency. However, if you know where to get this nutrient, this is a problem you won’t encounter. Let’s take a look at the sources of vitamin C.
Best Vitamin C Food Sources
Like many other nutrients, a balanced diet is the best and most important source of vitamin C. A balanced diet gives you other nutrients like fiber and phytonutrients, which have even more health benefits.
Under normal circumstances, consuming adequate vitamin C-rich foods is enough to help you meet your RDA. Luckily, you have a lot of options. Whenever vitamin C is mentioned, you’ll most likely think of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. But vitamin C is widely available in many other foods, giving you a wide array of options.
The food sources of vitamin C include:
- Red and green bell peppers
- Oranges and orange juice
- Green pepper
- Brussels sprouts
One thing to keep in mind is that vitamin C in food is destroyed by excessive heat or overcooking. For this reason, always try to consume some of your vitamin C raw.
Vitamin C Supplementation During Pregnancy
When it comes to taking care of your health, pregnancy is the time you don’t want to leave anything to chance. There are a lot of prenatal vitamin supplements on the market to help pregnant women meet their nutritional needs.
You might be wondering, is vitamin C safe during pregnancy, and is it necessary to take vitamin C while pregnant?
Vitamin C supplementation during pregnancy appears to be safe. It’s part of most prenatal multivitamin supplements. With regards to its necessity during pregnancy, there’s still debate over whether pregnant women should take it or not.
Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t provide an absolute indication for vitamin C supplementation, many healthcare professionals now recommend taking this vitamin.
For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking prenatal vitamins, including vitamin C, during pregnancy. There are a few reasons you may need a vitamin C supplement.
You may experience morning sickness that prevents you from eating in the morning, or feel queasy and lose your appetite in the evening hours. Allergies, lack of appetite, poor eating habits, food intolerance, poor diet, or following a strict diet may affect your vitamin C levels.
If you experience severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum), you may lose most of the nutrients you consume. Carrying more than one baby may also raise your need for vitamin C.
Due to these and other reasons, you can gauge why it’s reasonable to take vitamin C while pregnant.
Note: Always consult your healthcare provider for medical advice before taking any supplements.
What to Look For in a Good Prenatal Supplement
The market is flooded with supplements from a ton of different brands. It’s overwhelming to try and settle for one. The three things you should consider in a prenatal supplement are:
At the time of this writing, Llama Naturals doesn’t offer a prenatal supplement. However, the Whole-Fruit Elderberry Immunity gummies for adults contain vitamin C from organic acerola cherries. If you need a high-quality, all-around supplement for both adults and kids, choose Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin gummies. The gummies contain 13 essential plant-based vitamins from real fruits and vegetables, carefully formulated for optimal absorption.
In addition, Llama Naturals gummy vitamins contain no added sugar, flavors, artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. Yet, they still taste great.
Vitamin C While Pregnant: A Key to Good Health and Development
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports both the mother and the baby’s health during pregnancy. Pregnant women need more vitamin C than usual.
Although there are many food sources of vitamin C, pregnant women may need vitamin C supplements due to factors such as poor eating habits or excessive vomiting. Vitamin C supplements are safe for use during pregnancy, as long as you take the right doses of high-quality supplements.
If you’re looking for the best, high-quality multivitamin supplements, Llama Naturals has you covered. Llama Naturals gummies are made with real organic fruit and no added sugar, giving you the best of nature’s greatness.
Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that you and the family will love.