A healthy pregnancy depends on a healthy diet which can supply a variety of nutrients. These nutrients, minerals, vitamins, etc. which are the building blocks of the human body, are responsible for the overall growth and development. Their requirement increases during pregnancy as the pregnant woman must support a new life. Thus, including nutritious food items in the diet becomes a topmost requirement during pregnancy because the development of the baby depends on what the expectant mother eats.

A diet which lacks nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can cause deficiency. Nutritional deficiency not only affects the growth and development in short term, but it has long-term adverse effects too. Consuming a diet full of nutrition and that too at the right amount and time ensures that the nutritional requirements of both can be met and there remains no gap.

Vitamin A is an important micronutrient required during pregnancy. This fat-soluble vitamin has two categories i.e.,

  • Preformed Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Provitamin A (Carotenoids)

Retinol is directly absorbed in the body, which is taken from milk, eggs, etc. however the body must convert provitamin A into retinol before its absorption. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of carotenoids. Over 600 types of carotenoids are available naturally. However, not all of them can be absorbed as retinol. There are only a handful which the body can convert, for example – beta-carotene.

Vitamin A plays several physiological roles such as maintaining visual health and immunity, growth and development of the foetus maintaining epithelial tissue, etc. Its role in ocular integrity is known for years and this vitamin is needed throughout life, though its demand during pregnancy and in the early life of the baby is critical.

What are the advantages of consuming Vitamin A during pregnancy?

Vitamin A is found in the liver which is required by both the mother-to-be and the baby. Known as a wonderful antioxidant and immune-enhancing micronutrient, it is functional in prevents anaemia, promoting the vision and cell growth in the foetus, facilitating metabolism, etc.

Pregnancy is a condition where maternal immunity often remains compromised, and the pregnant woman constantly requires immunity boosters. Since Vitamin A is an antioxidant, it maintains immunity and keeps it functioning smoothly.

Here are some of the top reasons why Vitamin A is considered important during pregnancy:

✓ It helps in developing the baby’s vision.
✓ It helps in maintaining the mother’s vision.
✓ It is important for the organ development of the baby including lungs, kidney, heart, eyes, bones.
✓ It helps in the development of the respiratory system, circulatory system, and central nervous system of the baby.
✓ It is essential for the immune function of the baby.
✓ It helps in developing the air sacs in the baby’s lungs.
✓ It is more helpful for women in their third trimester as it helps in repairing their tissue post-delivery.

Vitamin A holds a key position in the overall development of the baby including several fundamental biological functions. As mentioned earlier, this vitamin is largely involved in the healthy growth of the baby’s eyes. It further aids in developing tiny air sacs in the lungs. Once these air sacs are developed, they help in oxygen transportation via blood and let carbon dioxide release out.

Babies born with less Vitamin A levels are likely to develop infections easily due to a weak immune system. This can show prolonged effects in certain cases in the later stages of life. It also helps in forming the natural stores of the baby which will prepare him/her for the first few months of life.

What if a pregnant woman has Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy?

One of the major challenges due to Vitamin A deficiency is xerophthalmia. Some of the common symptoms of Vitamin A include low immunity, night blindness, corneal ulceration, compromised growth, etc. The impaired growth of the baby is a major concern due to this vitamin deficiency, considering it is involved in several fundamental biological functions such as rapid cell differentiation and growth.

Its deficiency is also linked with anaemia. Since the immunity is depressed in Vitamin A deficiency situations, there are chances of mortality and morbidity. The body is likely to catch infections such as respiratory infections, measles, diarrhoea, etc. which can lead to further pregnancy complications.

When should a pregnant woman take a Vitamin A supplement?

Intake of Vitamin A is recommended for every expectant woman or for those who are trying to conceive. Since this vitamin plays a key role in several biochemical reactions, biological functions such as maintaining the growth and development of the foetus, the pregnant woman must focus on its consumption through diet, mostly via natural sources.

It is recommended that the pregnant woman should start focusing on Vitamin A consumption right from the first trimester. It should be continued throughout the pregnancy. There are long-term and short-term growth and developmental benefits of Vitamin A. She should include Vitamin A supplements along with her diet after consulting with a doctor to fulfil any gap that can lead to deficiency.

How much Vitamin A is a pregnant woman required to supplement?

According to the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a pregnant woman is required to consume 800 mcg of retinol and 6400 mcg of Beta-carotene via everyday diet. She must ensure a well-balanced diet that can supply her with enough amount of Vitamin C naturally.

Excess of Vitamin A is known to cause toxicity and is likely to impose severe teratogenic health challenges for the growing foetus. Since it gets stored in the body (being a fat-soluble vitamin), it becomes hard to flush it out of the body through urine. So, it can easily get accumulated and can cause toxicity. It can further cause blurry vision, nausea, headache, vomiting, impaired coordination. Thus, its intake should be balanced.

Can a pregnant woman take an international prenatal pill during pregnancy?

Taking an international prenatal tablet may not help an Indian pregnant woman in satisfying her nutritional demands. The overall composition of these international prenatal multivitamins doesn’t match the nutritional requirement of Indian pregnant women. Their chemical and nutritional composition differ from country to country. The amount of Vitamin A which a pregnant woman requires in the UK differs from the requirements of an Indian pregnant woman. That makes them inadequate for Indian pregnant women.

Also, taking international pregnancy vitamins may lead to certain complications, and she may have to take an extra pill to balance the amount and neutralise the effects. Moreover, consuming extra pills during pregnancy is yet another challenge as the pregnant woman is already baffled with a lot. Thus, it is highly recommended that she should only consume a pregnancy supplement that is designed and formulated especially for her.

How can a pregnant woman increase Vitamin A intake through diet?

Vitamin A is found in several vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. As is discussed above that Vitamin A is found in two forms i.e., retinol and beta-carotene; these both forms are found in different food items.

Retinol is obtained from animal food products such as cheese and yoghurt. Beta-carotene is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. This form of Vitamin A gives orange colour to certain fruits and vegetables such as oranges and carrots.

Here are some natural sources of Vitamin A which can boost its level in the body:

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Broccoli
  • Mango
  • Spinach
  • Dried apricot
  • Cantaloupe
  • Egg yolk
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Tomato
  • Pumpkin
  • Red and yellow pepper

Indian pregnant women are recommended to follow a dual approach to completely satisfy their nutritional demands. This dual approach is based on a well-balanced diet along with the right amount of pregnancy supplementation. Vitamin A can show both long-term and short-term health benefits.

What is the best Vitamin A supplement available for Indian pregnant women?

It takes a lot of effort for a pregnant woman to decide her dietary chart. What to eat and what not to eat; when to eat and how much to eat, etc. are some common questions that keep her occupied and can even stress her out. Since every pregnant woman wants to have a health and intelligent baby, thus, she keeps on looking for the best pregnancy vitamin available online.

TrimacareTM by PlusPlus Lifesciences is designed and formulated by a team of doctors, pharmacologists, and nutritionists following the guidelines of WHO and ICMR. TrimacareTM comes in 3 different packs for each trimester, as the pregnancy needs are unique in each trimester, and it provides all the 20+ nutrients required by a pregnant woman and her child holistically and to supplement the needs perfectly.

As per the guidelines of ICMR, all the three packs of TrimacareTM i.e., TrimacareTM 1 (pregnancy multivitamins for the first trimester of pregnancy), TrimacareTM 2 (pregnancy multivitamins for the second trimester of pregnancy), and TrimacareTM 3 (pregnancy multivitamins for the third trimester of pregnancy) contain 1600 mcg of Vitamin A. The whole composition includes 50% retinol and 50% beta-carotene.

It can be introduced at any stage of pregnancy. It is a one stop solution which supplements all the micronutrient needs of pregnancy. Hence, there is no need to take multiple pills every day for different nutrients. It is made with natural, plant-based ingredients thus it is safe and chemical-free.

TrimacareTM is recommended by leading doctors of India. This pregnancy supplement is available both online (Amazon1mgFlipkart) and offline at your nearest chemist.