Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in the liver and fat cells of the body. A healthy supply of vitamin A is very crucial because it builds up your baby’s natural stores, preparing your baby for the first few months of life. Vitamin A helps your baby to build strong lungs, healthy eyes and supports skin cell production Vitamin A helps developing millions of tiny air sacs, called alveoli, in your baby’s lungs.
Vitamin A is available in two forms:
- Retinol – found in high levels in some meat and fish products, also available in dairy foods and eggs in safe levels
- Beta-carotene – a substance found in fruits and vegetables that the body can convert into vitamin A. Sources of Beta-carotene are Carrots, Oranges, Sweet potatoes and Apricots
Now the big question arises, why is Vitamin A important during pregnancy?
Striking the right balance of vitamin A is a bit of a balancing act. Taking right amount of vitamin will make sure that your baby gets adequate nutritional support for normal development.
Vitamin A plays a very vital role in supporting your immune system throughout pregnancy. Though an adequate amount is required at all stages, however, the risk of deficiency is higher during the third trimester when the requirement of vitamin A is at the peak. In third trimester the development of your baby increases and as your baby is growing, your body prioritises your baby’s needs, which is why you need more of vitamin A during third trimester.
Why is vitamin A important for your baby?
A low level of vitamin A can result in a weak immune system of the baby, therefore, making the baby susceptible to infection and illness.
How can you strike a right balance?
Amount of vitamin A in pregnancy is slightly higher than normal, at 100mcg per day. Dairy foods and some fruit and vegetables, provide adequate amount of vitamin A, therefore, a well-balanced diet is all you need.
Certain foods like liver are high in vitamin A and should be avoided during pregnancy. Some non-pregnancy supplements like cod liver oil contains high levels of vitamin A, thus, should be avoided.
- Vitamin A is a healthy nutrient for both mother and baby
- Avoid liver or liver products like pate
- Including plenty of orange-coloured fruit and vegetables and dairy foods and eggs in your diet.
Diet plays a major role during pregnancy. Your baby’s development is completely based on what you eat. So eat healthy!
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