Vitamin C and Pregnancy

image001 Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble vitamin. It’s also an antioxidant; this means that it is able to neutralize free radicals. Vitamin C plays an important role in our body’s resistance to infections. It is required in scar formation and wound healing as well as increasing or enhancing the iron absorption from different foods. Iron is essential in the prevention of anemia. Besides, you should know vitamin C and pregnancy are closely related.

Is Vitamin C Necessary for Me During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, ascorbic acid is essential for wound healing, tissue repair, maintaining skin health and growth of bones. In addition, it helps to fight infections and acts as an antioxidant that protects your body cells from any damage. When you are pregnant, you will probably need vitamin C on a daily basis since it is very essential for both you and your developing baby. This vitamin is important in making a structural protein known as collagen, which is a cartilage component for most tissues and organs such as bones, tendons and skin. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron; hence, you should ensure that you include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet daily. Moreover, it’s important to note that deficiency in vitamin C may lead to bleeding gums due to breaking of the capillary veins under the skin and if it persists, it may eventually lead to scurvy.

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How Much Vitamin C Do I Need During Pregnancy?

Since you have known the relationship between vitamin C and pregnancy, so how much vitamin do you need every day? Pregnant women require about 85mg (milligrams) of vitamin C per day; however, younger pregnant women of 18 years of age and below will need about 80mg of Vitamin C per day. Breast feeding women will require more of vitamin C per day, about 120mg and 115mg (18 years of age and below). These amounts aim at achieving average daily intakes.

Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)for bothadults and childrenis about 70-90 milligrams per day. Scurvy can be prevented with just over 10 mg per day; however, cigarette smokers will need a higher amount of about 100mg to 130mg per day. Excess amounts of about 200mg per day may not be absorbed by the body and is excreted in the urine. The RDI can be achieved by simply sticking to a balanced diet every day with fruits and vegetables being incorporated due to immense quantity of vitamin C present in them.

What Are the Side Effects of High Doses of Vitamin C During Pregnancy? 

  • Prolonged intake of vitamin C supplements of over 2 grams per day may exacerbate gout conditions or even develop kidney stones.
  • People may also develop dependence on high doses of vitamin C and show deficiency symptoms on stopping it abruptly. It’s recommended that anyone who is taking high doses of vitamin C to cut down the amount gradually or slowly.
  • If you take too much vitamin C, you are most likely to experience symptoms of nausea, abdominal cramps, gut blockage, tiredness, headaches, insomnia, rashes, hot flushes and diarrhea.
  • There are advanced effects, which include increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, inflammation of the esophagus, discomfort at the site of injection, red blood cell complications, tingling or irritation of the skin, thickened blood vessels near the heart, complications of the urinary tract and slowed endurance training. In addition, red blood cell destruction and problems in digestive system are eminent.
  • In the case of high vitamin C ingestion, diuresis and high amount of fluid ingestion is recommended.
  • In pregnant women, it may lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and also people with diabetes may experience high blood sugar levels. Generally vitamin C is regarded as safe for human body if taken in correct amounts.

Food Sources of Vitamin C

You have understood the relation between vitamin C and pregnancy, you need to increase the intake of vitamin C from food, which is the safest choice. Leafy greens and most fruits especially citrus fruits are very rich sources of vitamin C and since vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat, it is recommended that you choose fresh foods. Cereals and juices are also fortified with vitamin C.

Foods

Descriptions

Rose hip tea

Rose hips are reddish berries which grow on rose bushes. It contains around 20 times the content of vitamin C found in oranges.

Black currant juice

8-ounce of black currant juice serving contains about 200 percent of RDI of vitamin C. It can be mixed with seltzer water for better results.

Strawberries

With just a cup of halved strawberries, be sure of getting 86 milligrams of vitamin C.

Bell peppers

As the pepper matures, vitamin C concentration also increases. Yellow pepper provides 135 mg of vitamin C; red bell pepper containing 142mg of vitamin C.

Kale and collards

Greens are highly recommended for vitamin C. Collard, kale and other leafy greens are rich in this vitamin with approximately 70mg per cup.

Citrus fruits

This is an amazing vitamin C diet component. One medium-sized may contain 50 mg of vitamin C, the juice contains between 10mg to 65mg; however, it is better to stick to the whole fruit.

Broccoli and cauliflower

They give about 45mg of vitamin C per cup and also very rich in fiber and minerals.

Brussels sprouts

They contain an amazing vitamin C content of about 96mg per one cup of cooked serving.

Raspberries

They contain 30 mg of vitamin C per one cup of serving. You should include these berries in your diet for vitamin C.

Kiwi

In fact this small fruit is loaded with good vitamins for pregnancy. They contain 74 mg of vitamin C and other nutritious components.

More Facts about Vitamin C during Pregnancy

1. The Nature of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most unstable of all vitamins and is easily lost through heat. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide higher amount of vitamin C.

2. Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

The initial signs of vitamin C deficiency include gum inflammation, brittle hair, rough and dry skin, bruises and slow-healing cuts.

3. Take Vitamin C from Daily Diet

Getting your vitamin C directly from your daily diet is the most recommended way of vitamin C intake. Use of supplements does not guarantee you a safer intake. Taking vitamin C supplements during pregnancy can raise your risk of preterm birth. There exist rare cases of babies born with scurvy in mothers who use these supplements.