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Vitamin C During Pregnancy

Vitamin C during Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including immune system support, collagen synthesis, and antioxidant protection. During pregnancy, vitamin C requirements increase significantly to support the growth and development of the fetus and the overall health of the mother.

Benefits of Vitamin C during Pregnancy

  • Fetal Growth and Development: Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, a protein that provides structure to bones, skin, and blood vessels. It also aids in the development of the baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system.

  • Immune System Support: Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, helping the mother fight off infections and protect the developing fetus from harmful pathogens.

  • Antioxidant Protection: Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

  • Placental Function: Vitamin C is necessary for the proper functioning of the placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. It helps maintain the integrity of the placental barrier and prevents oxidative stress.

  • Prevents Neural Tube Defects: Adequate intake of vitamin C has been linked to a reduced risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in newborns.

Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C during pregnancy is 85 milligrams (mg) for non-smokers and 120 mg for smokers. However, some experts recommend higher intakes of up to 200 mg per day.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes)
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Red bell peppers


While most women can meet their vitamin C needs through diet alone, supplementation may be necessary in certain cases, such as:

  • Women with a history of low vitamin C levels
  • Women with a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables
  • Women with multiple pregnancies or carrying twins or triplets
  • Women who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke

Risks of Excessive Vitamin C Intake

While vitamin C is generally safe during pregnancy, excessive intake can lead to certain side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney stones
  • Increased risk of gestational diabetes in women with pre-existing diabetes

Interactions with Medications

Vitamin C can interact with certain medications, including:

  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • Iron supplements

It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking before starting vitamin C supplementation.


Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in pregnancy. Adequate intake of vitamin C supports fetal growth and development, strengthens the immune system, provides antioxidant protection, and helps prevent pregnancy complications. While most women can meet their vitamin C needs through diet alone, supplementation may be necessary in certain cases. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and to avoid potential interactions with medications.

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