Nutrition is a fundamental requirement of every human being. Nutrients including proteins, vitamins, and minerals are the basic building blocks of life. These nutrients provide energy and maintain the health and normal function of the body. Their deficiencies can result in deformity and abnormal health, however the same can be severe during pregnancy when the pregnant woman is carrying a new life.

There are several reasons for nutritional deficiencies. These can be genetic however one of the major reasons for nutritional deficiencies is an imbalanced diet. As per common Indian practices, the diet in India is rich in calories (carbohydrate-rich) though it lacks essential micronutrients.

Our body receives various nutrients from the diet which contribute a lot to the biological processes. One of such nutrients is Vitamin B (B-complex). A group of 8 water-soluble vitamins, B-complex is required for a number of metabolic functions in the body. These B vitamins are:

  1. B1 – Thiamine
  2. B2 – Riboflavin
  3. B3 – Niacin
  4. B5 – Pantothenic acid
  5. B6 – Pyridoxine
  6. B7 – Biotin
  7. B9 – Folate
  8. B12 – Cobalamin

Each of these B vitamins has a unique function and the human body requires them in a regular diet every day because many of them aren’t stored in the body. These vitamins help initiate several enzymatic reactions, synthesis of red blood cells, maintaining healthy body tissues, brain cells, skin cells, energy production from carbohydrate, DNA production, neurochemical synthesis, breaking down fats to make amino acids, etc. These B vitamins are also involved in oxygen transportation.

Let us understand these vitamins one by one including their roles, dietary sources, and deficiencies if any:

  1. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 

Thiamine is required through daily dietary intake since the liver can only store a minute amount of this water-soluble B vitamin. Its role in several biological processes including the growth and functions of numerous types of cells, especially in the brain development of the baby is pivotal.

Our body uses this B vitamin for the normal utilization of carbohydrates. This vitamin facilitates energy production through carbohydrate conversion. Energy is one of the major requirements during pregnancy for both the mother-to-be and the baby. It further enables the smooth functioning of the heart, nervous system, muscles, etc.

It is found in several foods such as beans, nuts, cereal, meat, etc. Thiamine deficiency can arise due to a deficient diet. Some common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, and weakness. Beriberi is a major concern which is a disease caused by thiamine deficiency. Its deficiency is commonly seen in developing countries due to dietary practices. No evidence has been reported of overconsumption of thiamine during pregnancy.

  1. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 

The human body requires riboflavin for various purposes, the most important being cellular respiration. Its common food sources are green vegetables, meat, almonds, eggs, milk and dairy products, mushrooms, etc. This B vitamin serves as a crucial component for two coenzymes, flavin mononucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide. These coenzymes are responsible for carrying out several biological processes including cellular growth and function, various metabolism activities such as fats, steroids, energy production, etc.

Riboflavin deficiency is common in developing countries like India. A primary reason for this is the consumption of wheat and rice and poor intake of dairy and meat products. Some of the common signs of riboflavin deficiencies include dermatitis, cracked lips, anaemia, etc.

If a pregnant woman is suffering from eating disorder (anorexia), she is more vulnerable to the deficiency. Also, lactose-intolerant pregnant mothers will have the deficiency. Excess of Vitamin B2 is excreted out of the body.

  1. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 

Niacin is required in several essential biological processes including energy metabolism, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels, maintaining the digestive and neural system, maintaining hair and skin health, DNA synthesis, cell signalling functions, etc. Its presence is involved in several enzymatic reactions.

Since it is a water-soluble B vitamin, which means it can easily get flushed out of the body, it is required in everyday diet. Some common food sources of Vitamin B3 are dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, curd, nuts & seeds, sweet pepper, lentils, beans, mushrooms, green peas, etc.

Its deficiency can arise due to an imbalanced diet however alcoholism is also a common cause. Its deficiency can lead to headaches, unstable focus, poor circulation, dizziness, skin inflammation, etc. It prevents birth defects, and miscarriages, improves digestion, removes nausea, etc.

  1. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 

Also referred to as Pantothenate, this vitamin is needed for countless biological functions such as hormone production (especially pregnancy hormones, stress-relieving hormones), synthesis and metabolism of proteins, fats, coenzyme A, etc. Pantothenic acid can help with leg cramps which are common in pregnancy. This vitamin speeds up the healing process of skin wounds.

Whole grains are a good source of Vitamin B5. Some other natural sources include sunflower seeds, oats, cauliflower, sweet potato, milk, banana, orange, etc. Its deficiency is seen rarely as it can be found in a variety of food which is easily available.

Its deficiency can be associated with some other Vitamin B. If a pregnant woman is suffering from toxaemia, she is likely to have a deficiency of this vitamin. Some common symptoms include vomiting, stomach pain, insomnia, fatigue, etc.

  1. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 

Pyridoxine is essential for the baby’s nervous system development. It is required in the production of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters direct several metabolic functions in the body. One of the most important roles of Pyridoxine is to prevent vomiting and nausea during pregnancy which can impact the mood of a pregnant woman a lot. It further helps in preventing low birth weight and keeps healthy blood-glucose levels.

Its dietary sources include sweet potato, brown rice, banana, spinach, bean, garlic, chicken, etc. Vitamin B6 deficiency can arise due to several factors including deficient diet, increasing demands by the foetus, disturbed metabolism of Vitamin B6, etc. Supplementing with Vitamin B6 can prevent the deficiency.

  1. Vitamin B7 (Biotin) 

Biotin accelerates the process of energy production from food. It is also involved in several other metabolic processes, catabolism of amino acids, synthesis of fatty acids, gluconeogenesis, etc. Its role is also involved in the foetal development and health of the baby. It is essential for skin, hair, and nail, maintaining blood sugar levels, and can also help expectant mothers to have babies with good health.

The dietary sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products such as milk, cheese, nuts (walnut, almonds, peanuts), grains, legumes, fruits (avocado, raspberries), vegetables (cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots), etc.

Biotin deficiency is usually noticed in the late pregnancy phase. Sometimes, it happens due to the rapid breakdown of biotin. This leads to reduced levels of biotin in the body. It may have some health issues such as skin, hair, and nail health problems, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, etc. Its overdose is likely to cause acne, allergies, and miscarriage in rare cases.

  1. Vitamin B9 (Folate) 

Vitamin B9 helps in energy production, from carbohydrates to glucose. Folic acid is important for emotional and mental wellbeing during pregnancy. A synthetic form of Folate, it helps the neural tube to close properly during the first few weeks of pregnancy. It also is required for the formation of the circulatory system and heart of the baby. It further helps in preventing gestational diabetes, preterm birth, miscarriage, cleft lip, and palate.

Some natural sources include green leafy vegetables, eggs, beets, broccoli, legumes, citrus fruits, nuts, etc.

Its deficiency can lead to anaemia when the body lacks enough haemoglobin to produce red blood cells. This can be caused if a pregnant woman doesn’t take a diet rich in Folic acid. Alcohol consumption can also hinder Folate absorption. Overdose of Folate can mask the signs of B12 deficiency which may result in nerve health risks, though it is rare.

  1. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) 

Vitamin B12 is an important dietary requirement which helps in maintaining the health of the pregnant woman. It is required for making red blood cells, healthy functioning of nerve tissues, digestion, Iron usage, immune function, food absorption, digestion, etc. Its role is also involved in making genetic materials including DNA where it works with Folate. It is also required in the formation of the neural tube and brain development of the foetus.

Some food sources include milk, seafood, dairy products, fortified cereals, etc. Its deficiency can cause unstable breathing and heartbeat, tiredness, bleeding gums, weight loss, digestive problems, etc. Dietary deficiency and poor absorption from the food are some common causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency. It is rare but B12 deficiency may increase the chances of neural tube defects in the baby.

Vitamin B-complex plays a key role in supporting health and strengthening the body of the mother and the baby. This family of vitamins helps in keeping a healthy pregnancy and is considered the most important pregnancy nutrient during the first trimester.

When should a pregnant woman take a Vitamin B-complex supplement?

Since Vitamin B-complex is a group of 8 water-soluble vitamins, which means the body can’t store them, their requirement during pregnancy is crucial. All these vitamins of B-complex are required in a balanced amount regularly to keep the body functioning healthily. This is also the same in the case of the growing foetus.

The deficiency of B-complex vitamins may result in adverse effects on embryonic development. It can be a survival challenge in rare situations. Thus, if a pregnant woman is unable to keep a track of her diet or lacks access to a proper, balanced diet, she should start taking Vitamin B-complex supplementation right from the first trimester. She should continue it throughout the pregnancy considering these vitamins are involved in the overall growth of the foetus which takes place periodically during all the trimesters.

How much Vitamin B-complex is a pregnant woman required to supplement?

As per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the following table shows the recommended amount of Vitamin B-complex during pregnancy:

Vitamin B Amount (ICMR guidelines)
Vitamin B1 1.6 mg
Vitamin B2 2 mg
Vitamin B3 18 mg
Vitamin B5 5 mg
Vitamin B6 2.5 mg
Vitamin B7 30 mcg
Vitamin B9 500 mcg
Vitamin B12 1.2 mcg

Lower intake is likely to cause deficiency of these vitamins. A pregnant woman should consume these amounts through a healthy diet which must include fresh fruits and vegetables.

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

During pregnancy, this question often keeps pregnant women perplexed if they should take internationally available prenatal pills or not. No doubt, they can easily buy these pregnancy vitamins due to their easy availability but before consuming them, they should make sure if the chemical composition and nutritional amount these pregnancy supplements contain, match with their pregnancy requirements or not. Most of the time, Indian pregnant women buy prenatal vitamins that are sold in the UK or the US. Those prenatal multivitamins cater to the requirements of a specific region. A pregnant woman in India needs a pregnancy formula that can cater to her pregnancy requirements, fulfilling her nutritional demands so that she can give birth to a healthy baby.

Which is the best Vitamin B-complex supplement available for Indian pregnant women?

Pregnancy is a phase of several challenges and changes, both emotional and physical. Adopting a new lifestyle and diet plan can be a daunting task for some. Keeping a track of what to eat and when to eat is another challenge where a pregnant woman can get confused. If she fails to get the right amount of nutrients at the right time, she will have to deal with several pregnancy complications. Thus, she deserves a pregnancy supplement based on the recommendations of ICMR, exclusively designed for Indian pregnant women.

TrimacareTM by PlusPlus Lifesciences is India’s most advanced prenatal supplement which 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.

The table given below talks about the amount of each B-complex vitamin which all the TrimacareTM products contain. TrimacareTM 1 caters to the requirements of the first trimester of pregnancy. TrimacareTM 2 fulfills the requirements of the second trimester of pregnancy. TrimacareTM 3 fulfills the requirements of the third trimester of pregnancy.

Vitamin B TrimacareTM 1 TrimacareTM 2 TrimacareTM 3
Vitamin B1
(Thiamine mono nitrate)
1.6 mg 1.6 mg 1.6 mg
Vitamin B2

(Riboflavin)

2 mg 2 mg 2 mg
Vitamin B3

(Niacin)

18 mg 18 mg 18 mg
Vitamin B5

(D-Pantothenate calcium)

5 mg 5 mg 5 mg
Vitamin B6

(Pyridoxine hydrochloride)

10 mg 3 mg 3 mg
Vitamin B7

(D-Biotin)

30 mcg 30 mcg 30 mcg
Vitamin B9
(L-Methylfolate)
5 mg 0.5 mg 0.5 mg
Vitamin B12

(Methylcobalamin)

3.6 mcg 3.6 mcg 3.6 mcg

TrimacareTM is good for the mother and good for the baby. 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. Ask your doctor for TrimacareTM today!