How shall I get sufficient vitamins and minerals?
Information from National Food Agency, Sweden
The best way of getting the vitamins and minerals you need is through your food. And, of course, it also contains other necessary nutrients. Choose food rich in vitamin D, omega 3-fat, folate (folic acid) and iron. These substances are of particular importance during pregnancy.
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Good sources of:
- DHA, an omega 3-fat
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. If you never eat fish your intake of certain kinds of omega 3-fat (DHA) that are needed during pregnancy may be too low. Consult you midwife if you never eat fish.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D-fortified foods: Skimmed milk, skimmed sour milk, natural low-fat yoghurt and most types of margarine. Fish and eggs. Sunlight, too, is an important source.
If you do not eat vitamin D-fortified foods or if you cover your entire body in clothes when outdoors, you can be short of vitamin D. Consult your midwife.
- Folate/folic acid
Vegetables, beans, chickpeas, lentils, fruit, berries and whole grain products.
It is recommended that all women who might become pregnant should take 400 microgram folic acid tablets every day up to week 12 of the pregnancy in order to reduce the risk of spina bifida in the foetus.
After week 12 folic acid has no effect against spina bifida. Still, it is important to eat food rich in folate/folic acid during your entire pregnancy. This is needed for the development of your child and forming your blood cells.
Read more about advice on folate here.
You also need iodine during pregnancy. Therefore, use iodine-fortified salt, but do not use too much salt. Many mineral, herbal and flaked salts are not iodine-fortified. Read on the packaging.
Meat, liver pâté, black pudding and whole grain bread.
Even if you eat food that contains a lot of iron you may still need iron tablets. This depends on how much iron you have stored in your body. Consult your midwife.
Reviewed by Swedish Food Agency