I am a first-time mum. Is it necessary that I take vitamin and mineral supplements? How long should I take them for?
Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that are essential for the healthy development of the foetus. During pregnancy, the daily intake requirements for certain nutrients, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron will increase. Although a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to get these key nutrients, sometimes it may still fall short and supplements can help fill the nutritional gaps.
Supplements are also useful if you are:
· unable to prepare healthy meals regularly yourself.
· vegetarians or vegans
· have an eating disorder
· having twins or multiple pregnancy
But supplements should not be taken as a substitute for a healthy diet. They should be taken under the guidance of your obstetrician as overdose of certain vitamins may be harmful to the foetus.
It is best to take prenatal supplements throughout your entire pregnancy. Your obstetrician may recommend you to continue taking them if you are breast-feeding.