B vitamins are an important part of pregnancy because B12 specifically is required for a process called methylation, which is involved in gene expression, cell differentiation, and organ formation. You’ve likely heard of these in different ways, depending upon what you’re dealing with. Each one does a lot of different things and are important for our body systems to operate in homeostasis (think balance).
Without enough B12, the risk of miscarriage, neural tube defects and preterm delivery go up.
Depending upon what you eat there’s nothing to worry about, but if you’re diet leaves something to be desired you can definitely clean it up and get that B12 you need!
Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Pregnant women who follow vegetarian or vegan diets may be at risk of B12 deficiency and should consult with a healthcare provider about appropriate supplementation or dietary strategies to ensure they meet their B12 needs.
During pregnancy, it is generally recommended that women consume an adequate amount of vitamin B12 through their diet or supplements as prescribed by a healthcare provider to support the health and development of both the mother and the baby (always consult with your care team first!).
Here are some of the key functions of vitamin B12 during pregnancy:
- Red Blood Cell Formation: B12 helps prevent anemia by ensuring an adequate supply of healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Neurological Development: important for the proper development of the baby's nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
- DNA Synthesis: essential for the rapid growth and development of the fetus.
- Energy Metabolism: helps convert food into energy, which is especially important during pregnancy when the body's energy needs increase.
- Folate Metabolism: adequate B12 levels are necessary to support the function of folate in reducing pregnancy related risks.
- Immune System Support: helps maintain a healthy immune system, which is important for both the mother and the developing fetus.
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