Pregnancy vitamins: the rundown

Author Yummygums
Last update: 5 March, 2021

Extra vitamins when trying to conceive

Vitamins and minerals support a wide range of processes in your body, such as energy supply, digestion and immune system function. During, after and even before pregnancy, your body requires more of some vitamins and minerals. The Health Council of the Netherlands recommends, for instance, that you take extra folic acid (400 micrograms per day) if you are trying to conceive. Folic acid plays a role in the development of the placenta and the cell division process. Foetal cell division begins almost immediately after conception, when you do not yet know you are expecting. Having a high level of folic acid before conception ensures that your baby can develop optimally. This is why the Nutrition Centre recommends taking 400 micrograms of extra folic acid every day until the 10th week of pregnancy. Yummygums Mommy contains all the vitamins your body needs before, during and after pregnancy and can help you with that. Yummygums Mommy is a delicious papaya-flavoured vitamin gummy with 15 vitamins, including folic acid and vitamin D3, to support your body and your baby’s development.

The Yummygums Mommy is now available in our online store!

Before birth

Whether you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or are recovering from childbirth, your body requires an additional dosage of vitamins and minerals. This involved a healthy lifestyle and food intake, but in practice this is not always feasible. As your body needs specific amounts of certain vitamins, it is almost impossible to get them all through food. Supplementing your daily diet is a good option to ensure that you and your baby receive sufficient nutrients – even if you suffer from nausea. Yummygums Mommy is a vitamin gummy made for expectant and breastfeeding mothers.

Mommy vitamin gummies

Treat yourself and your body with to our papaya gummies – before, during and after pregnancy. This specially designed vitamin gummy supports your body as a mommy (to be) and contributes to the development of your little one!

View Mommy

After childbirth

After the birth of your baby, your body needs time to recover, both from the birth and the pregnancy. Your energy level may already be lower, especially when coupled with short nights. Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B12 and vitamin C help your body to release energy from food and boost your immune system. When breastfeeding, you lose some of your nutrients through your breast milk. If you are not receiving sufficient nutrients, it’s not the composition of the breast milk that suffers in the first place, but your own body. To maintain your own health and promote recovery, you therefore need more vitamins and minerals, also during the period that you are breastfeeding.

What are pregnancy vitamins?

The increased requirement does not apply to all vitamins and minerals. Your body requires higher doses of certain substances before, during and after pregnancy. We are referring to the following vitamins and minerals – these are described in detail later:

  • Taking folic acid (vitamin B11) is good for women trying to conceive. Folic acid contributes to the formation of the placenta and the growth of the baby in general. The composition of Yummygums Mommy is therefore based on this guideline. The advice is to start taking extra folic acid at least one month before conception and to continue until the tenth week of pregnancy.
  • The Health Council recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day when you are pregnant. Vitamin D aids in the cell division process and contributes to the development of tissues. Your body needs vitamin D to support your baby’s bone development and to keep your own bones strong.
  • Iodine is important for the growth process of children. It plays an important role in the functioning of the nervous system and contributes to metabolism.
  • Beta-carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for the immune system and vital to iron levels in the blood. Women are regularly warned about the risks of taking excessive vitamin A during pregnancy. Yummygums Mommy therefore contains the provitamin beta-carotene, so that these risks are removed.
  • Choline helps maintain the structure of cell membranes and supports normal lipid metabolism.
  • Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and vitamin C help reduce fatigue. This can help to alleviate the effects of poor sleep and fatigue during pregnancy.

Fat- and water-soluble vitamins

Vitamins can be divided into two groups: water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins. They can be found in foods high in fatty acids, such as oily fish, oil and nuts. Water-soluble vitamins are mainly found in foods such as vegetables, fruit and grains. Fat-soluble vitamins can be partially stored by your body to enable the creation of a small reserve. The water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored by your body. If you consume too many of these vitamins, you simply pass them out again (Eigen kracht, 2019).

Recommended intake

To zoom in on the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, it is useful to know in what quantities you need these vitamins. To this end, the standards RDA, AI and acceptable upper limit are used. These are explained below:

RDA
For each nutrient, the Health Council of the Netherlands recommends the amount that healthy individuals require on a daily basis. These dietary standards are often referred to as the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Sometimes the (mention of) RDA leads to confusion. For example, some individuals require higher doses of certain vitamins than the RDA. Labels of vitamin supplements often indicate a certain percentage of the RDA or of the RI (reference intake). The reference intake is comparable to the RDA.

Adequate intake
Adequate intake (AI) is an estimate of the lowest amount of nutrients that is sufficient for almost all individuals. This value is used when no RDA can be established and is therefore not a target, but an estimate of the minimum amount.

Acceptable upper limit
Taking in excessive quantities of vitamins and minerals over a long period of time can be bad for your health. To give an idea of what an ‘excessive dose’ is, an acceptable upper limit has been set for each nutrient. This is the highest intake at which no harmful effects on health occur. For substances that do not occur naturally in food, but have been added to it, a different indicator applies. The maximum quantity of these substances that can be ingested without detriment to your health is indicated with the acceptable daily intake (ADI). Examples are E-numbers, veterinary medicines and pesticides

Folic acid (Vitamin B11)

Vitamin B11 is essential to the proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems and contributes to cell division during growth and other processes. Folic acid plays an important role during pregnancy as high folate levels (folate status) in the mother’s body reduce the risk of birth defects in the baby. The amount of folic acid needed to increase your folate status is impossible to obtain completely from food. Therefore, taking a folic acid supplement is recommended for women who wish to conceive, are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Recommended intake
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is set at 300 micrograms. For women trying to conceive, pregnant women and women breastfeeding, a daily intake of 400 micrograms is therefore recommended. As your body cannot make folic acid itself, it is important to get enough folic acid through food or supplements.

Nutrition
Vitamin B11 is found in the following foods:

  • Taking folic acid (vitamin B11) is good for women trying to conceive. Folic acid contributes to the formation of the placenta and the growth of the baby in general. The composition of Yummygums Mommy is therefore based on this guideline. The advice is to start taking extra folic acid at least one month before conception and to continue until the tenth week of pregnancy.
  • The Health Council recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day when you are pregnant. Vitamin D helps the cell division process and contributes to the development of tissues. Your body requires vitamin D to support your baby’s bone development and to keep your own bones strong.

Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to keep your bones and teeth strong. Vitamin D ensures that calcium and phosphorus are absorbed and stored in the bones and teeth. Calcium helps to build and maintain a strong skeleton and is especially important during pregnancy, both for you and for the baby. Vitamin D is also vital for the proper functioning of the immune system and plays an important role in muscle function.

Recommended intake
The general guideline for daily intake of vitamin D is 10 micrograms. There are certain groups that can absorb less vitamin D, such as people with a tinted or dark skin colour, people who do not go outside often and people who wear a veil. They are advised to consume 20 micrograms extra per day through a supplement. The Health Council of the Netherlands recommends a daily intake of 10 micrograms of extra vitamin D, in addition to the amount you get through food. During and after pregnancy, you do not necessarily require a larger amount of vitamin D, but because a shortage carries risks, the Health Council recommends taking a supplement just to be on the safe side (Royal Dutch Organisation for Obstetricians, 2013).

Nutrition
Vitamin D can be found in these foods:

  • Oily fish (eel, salmon, mackerel)
  • eggs
  • butter
  • Vitamin D is added to margarine, low-fat margarine and baking and frying products.

Iodine

Iodine is essential to the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are required for growth, a good metabolism and the development of the nervous system. Iodine also supports the energy supply.

Recommended intake
The Health Council of the Netherlands has not set any recommended dietary allowance for iodine. In 2012, Scandinavia established guidelines for an RDA that are now also used in the Netherlands: the RDA for iodine from the age of 9 years is 150 micrograms. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are advised to take a higher dosage, namely 175 micrograms and 200 micrograms, respectively.

Food
These foods are high in iodine:

  • Bread, baked with baker’s salt
  • saltwater fish
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) is converted by your body into vitamin A. Vitamin A provides good resistance and is very important for vision, but also for healthy bones, teeth, skin and growth. Fortunately, your body is smart enough to convert exactly the amount it needs. So by using beta-carotene in a supplement, you can avoid getting too much vitamin A through a supplement. During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, your body has a greater need for vitamin A.

Nutrition
Beta-carotene is found in:

  • milk products
  • egg yolk
  • roots
  • smoked eel

Recommended intake
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for beta-carotene. Due to negative accounts, some women avoid vitamin A entirely. However, as vitamin A is good for your immune system, vision and important for a good iron level in the blood, avoiding vitamin A is not wise.

Choline

Choline is a semi-vitamin that is added to baby food and is naturally present in breast milk. Newborn babies do not produce this substance themselves yet, or not enough. Choline is part of cell membranes and plays a role in a number of metabolic processes.

Recommended intake
The Health Council of the Netherlands has established an adequate intake  of 400 milligrams/day for adults, as a guideline for how much you should ingest daily. This amount should not be used as a target, but as an approximate guideline for how much you require. As little research is available, the Health Council has not yet been able to establish a recommended daily allowance for choline.

Food
Choline is found in many foods, especially in:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 plays a role in maintaining the nervous system, digestion and energy balance. Vitamin B2 is important for healthy skin, good eyesight and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.

Recommended intake
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B2 for adults has been set at 1.6 milligrams.

Nutrition
Vitamin B2 is found in the following foods:

  • dairy
  • meat (products)
  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • grains

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 plays an important role in the energy supply of cells and in the production of fatty acids. Vitamin B3 is also important for the proper functioning of the nervous system and ensures healthy skin.

Recommended intake
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B3 for adult women is 13 milligrams, and for men it is 17 milligrams.

Food
Vitamin B3 is found in these foods:

  • meat
  • poultry, such as chicken and turkey
  • fish, especially tuna
  • nuts and seeds
  • peanuts
  • grains

Your body can make vitamin B3 from the amino acid tryptophan (a building block of protein). Protein-rich products, such as dairy products and eggs therefore contribute to the production of vitamin B3.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 supports the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and contributes to the energy supply. Vitamin B5 is important in the formation of a number of hormones and supports the functioning of the nervous system.

Recommended intake
There is not yet sufficient scientific evidence to establish a recommended daily allowance for vitamin B5. However, the Health Council of the Netherlands has set the adequate intake of vitamin B5 for adults at 5 milligrams. Consider this amount not as a target value, but as a guideline of how much you approximately require.

Nutrition
These foods are rich in vitamin B5:

  • meat, especially chicken and beef
  • eggs
  • pulses
  • milk products
  • fruit & vegetables
  • wholegrain products

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is mainly responsible for the breakdown and construction of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of red blood cells and is required for proper functioning of the immune system.

Recommended intake
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6 for adults is set at 1.5 milligrams.

Nutrition
Vitamin B6 can be found in the following foods:

  • meat, especially pork fillet
  • eggs
  • fish (pollock)
  • walnuts
  • wholegrain products
  • potatoes
  • pulses

Vegetables, milk and cheese contain vitamin B6 in smaller amounts.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen through your blood. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, for a good immune system and contributes to the energy supply.

Recommended intake
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 for adults is 2.8 micrograms. Because the active form of vitamin B12 (the form that can be absorbed by the body) only occurs in animal products, it is important for vegans to take a B12 supplement with a significant dosage compared to the RDA. People who eat a (predominantly) vegetarian diet are also advised to keep a close eye on their vitamin B12 intake.

Nutrition
Vitamin B12 can be found in:

  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • fish and meat

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is especially known for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, i.e. it protects the body’s cells from damage that can be caused by free radicals. Free radicals are aggressive substances that can cause damage to cells and tissues in some cases. They play a role in ageing processes.

Recommended intake
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C for adults is 75 milligrams. The development of your baby costs your body significant energy, in addition to pregnancy-related ailments, poor sleep and less exercise. Together, these factors ensure that pregnant women often have reduced immunity.

Nutrition
These foods are rich in vitamin C:

  • fruit, especially citrus fruits and berries
  • vegetables, especially cabbage
  • potatoes

What should I look for when buying vitamins?

It is highly advisable to take a critical look at the label of a supplement before purchasing it. Check whether the amounts that one dose of a supplement contains are not 4000 percent of the RDA. In addition, more expensive does not necessarily mean better: vitamin B8 is and remains vitamin B8. One reason for price differences may be that different raw materials or additives are used. Additionally, the range of name brands is often greater than that of generic brands (Dutch Consumers’ Association, 2019).

Medical advice

If you eat a healthy and varied diet according to the ‘Dutch Schijf van Vijf’, you will receive sufficient vitamin intake. Unfortunately, that sounds a lot simpler than it is. If you want to check how many vitamins you are consuming, use the online food diary ‘Mijn Eetmeter’ [My Food Monitor] available via My Voedingscentrum. It is also important to stick to the RDA or RI indicated on the packaging. If no RDI has been set, use the RDI as a guideline, not as a target. Furthermore, it is important not to exceed the acceptable upper limit (Vitamin Information Bureau, 2019). Consult your doctor in the event of pregnancy, use of medication or if you have a medical condition before using vitamin supplements.

Usage

Yummygums Mommy contains carefully calculated amounts of the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals, thus supporting your immune system during and after pregnancy. The recommended dose is two Mommy gummies per day, which you can take together without water. Yummygums Mommy has a delightfully fresh papaya flavour. When using Yummygums Mommy, it is not necessary to take Yummygums Multi Plus.

Bibliography

Consumentenbond. (2019). Veelgestelde vragen over voedingssupplementen. (R. Rolvink, Redacteur) Opgeroepen op 1 21, 2020, van Consumentenbond: https://www.consumentenbond.nl/vitamines-en-voedingssupplementen/veelgestelde-vragen-over-voedingssupplementen

Eigen kracht. (2019). Vitamine- en mineralensupplementen. Opgeroepen op 1 20, 2020, van Eigen kracht: https://www.eigenkracht.nl/supplementen/specifieke-supplementen/vitaminen-en-mineralen

Voedingscentrum. (2019). Choline. Opgeroepen op 6 8 2020, van Voedingscentrum: https://www.voedingscentrum.nl/encyclopedie/choline.aspx

Voedingscentrum. (2019). Halfvitamines. Opgeroepen op 6 8, 2020, van Voedingscentrum:
https://www.voedingscentrum.nl/encyclopedie/halfvitamines.aspx

Vitamine Info. (2020). Dit doen vitamines voor je haar. Opgeroepen op 6 8, 2020, van Vitamine Info: https://www.vitamine-info.nl/alle-vitamines-en-mineralen-op-een-rij/beta-caroteen/?L=26

Vitamine Informatie Bureau. (2019). Op het etiket. Opgeroepen op 11 15, 2019, van Vitamine info: https://www.vitamine-info.nl/supplementen/op-het-etiket/

Koninklijke Nederlandse Organisatie voor Verloskundigen. (2013) Gezondheidsraad brengt nieuw vitamine D- advies uit. Opgeroepen op 6 8 2020, van KNOV: https://www.knov.nl/over-de-knov/tekstpagina/7821/persvoorlichting/hoofdstuk/1096/persvoorlichting/