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Vitamin C for overall well being during pregnancy

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A nutritious and balanced diet is crucial for a body’s overall well-being, but it is particularly important for pregnant women who need to support their developing baby. Furthermore, during childbearing, women may require significantly more nutrients like Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Iodine, Zinc and Magnesium and Vitamin D.

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is essential for both the mother and the developing infant as it strengthens immunity and is vital for the body to synthesise collagen, which aids in the growth of the baby’s skin, cartilage, tendons, and bone. It also intends as an antioxidant in the body, assisting the body in fighting inflammation and protecting cells against harmful free radicals. It enhances the immune system and diminishes the chances of acquiring iron-deficient anaemia during pregnancy.

Vitamin C also facilitates the absorption of iron, notably from vegetarian sources. Its insufficiency can cause fatigue, gum irritation, slow-healing cuts, bruises, and dry skin. Pregnant women require additional Vit than non-pregnant women while lactating women demand even more.

Vitamin C is prescribed for healthy foetal development. It encourages the growth of the baby’s tissues, strengthens the blood vessels of the placenta, boosts the supply of oxygen delivered to the foetus, and minimises the danger of placental abruption. Due to hormonal changes in the body, the mother may suffer from constipation early in pregnancy and taking vitamin C  can facilitate bowel movements. As a diuretic, it may induce the kidneys to expel more water and sodium from the body reducing the blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessel walls.

Applying vitamin C-containing cosmetics or simply consuming them daily, helps enhance the skin’s elasticity, lowering stretch marks. Regular consumption may minimise the risk of stress in individuals.

Several substantial changes occur in the body during pregnancy. Adequate vitamin and nutrient intake is critical for the baby’s growth and development, as well as hormonal equilibrium. Vitamin C deficiency can cause a variety of health complications. Its absence in pregnant women hinders the foetus’s brain from developing properly. It may even impact the hippocampus, which is important for learning and memory. Lack of the vitamin can result in bleeding gums and injury to the capillary veins.

Prenatal multivitamins are consumed by women both before and during pregnancy because they have been specially created to assist with the growth of the nervous system, brain, and vision. Pregnant women should ingest 85 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily while breastfeeding mothers should strive for 120 mg.  

The maximum recommended amount should not surpass 2000 mg as it’s difficult to absorb too much vitamin C during pregnancy considering your body excretes any excess concentrations within a few hours.

Even though it is water-soluble and safe, but consuming excessive quantities when conceiving is not advocated as high doses might disrupt your stomach and cause illness and nausea.

Citrus fruits are particularly appealing since they are high in vitamin C, but leafy greens and many other fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources. It helps to obtain the most iron from the other meals eaten. Oranges and orange juice, as well as strawberries, currants, noir Brussels, sprouts, broccoli, potatoes and green peppers, are excellent suppliers.

Fresh foods are the finest source of vitamin C as heat destroys them later. This is especially true when consuming vegetarian iron sources such as beans – vitamin C can help you absorb up to six times more iron.

It is relatively easy to obtain adequate vitamin C via diet and prenatal vitamins.
People who do not eat enough nutritious foods or limit their intake may suffer from poor health and bleeding gums. Pregnant women are already vulnerable since their immune systems are inhibited by hormones and they require collagen for their baby’s growth.

Vitamin C, on the other hand, can assist pregnant women to strengthen their immunity.

(The writer is Dr. Yuvakshi Juneja (Senior Consultant- Obstetrics & Gynecology) at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Nehru Enclave, New Delhi)

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