Summary of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018

Patient Leaflet


The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Healthy eating and vitamin supplements in pregnancy.
Link to RCOG


Both the quantity and the type of food a woman eat before and during pregnancy are essential to healthiness throughout pregnancy. The newly published RCOG patient leaflet outlines recommendations on healthy eating and vitamin supplements to support the health of both mothers and babies. 

Quick summary of recommendations:

Tips to eat healthily:

✔ Base meals on starchy foods like bread and rice. Chose wholegrain if possible
✔ Eat at least 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables daily rather than foods with higher fat content and calories
✔ Eat a low-fat diet
✔ Avoid drinks with high level of added sugar and foods with high fat or sugar content
✔ Eat fiber-rich foods like oats, beans, lentils, grains and seeds
✔ Eat some protein daily. Choose lean meat and try to eat 2 portions of fish per week
✔ Eat dairy foods that are low in fat for calcium
✔ Watch the portion size. Do NOT "eat for two"
✔ Always eat breakfast
✔ Limit caffeine intake to 200 mg a day

Need of extra vitamins during pregnancy

  • 13 important vitamins include the vitamin B series, vitamins A, C, D, E and K
  • Many multivitamin tablets for use during pregnancy that contain a small amount of lots of vitamins are safe to take.
  • Women should avoid taking large doses of Vitamin B supplements (other than folic acid), vitamins A and E  unless  for a particular medical reason
  • They are essential in pregnancy and women can boost their intake by taking a vitamin supplement, for example:

Folic Acid

  • The recommended daily dose is 0.4 mg and women are recommended to start taking extra folic acid before conception and continue to take until 13th week of gestation
  • Women at risk of having babies with spina bifida are advised to take a daily dose of 5 mg of folic acid:
    - Who have had a previous pregnancy affected by spina bifida
    - Who or whose partner has spina bifida
    - Who are taking certain medications for epilepsy
    - Who have coeliac disease or diabetes
    - Whose BMI is 30 or more
    - Who have sickle-cell anaemia or thalassaemia

Vitamin D

  • ALL pregnant women are recommended to take a daily dose of 10 mcg of vitamin D during pregnancy and lactation
  • Women who are at particular risk of having a low levels of vitamin D include:
    - Whose family origin is South Asian, African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern
    - Whose BMI is 30 or more
    - Who stay indoors a lot
    - Who usually cover their skin when they go outdoors or usually use sun-protection cream
    - Whose diet is low in vitamin D-rich foods like eggs, meat, vitamin D-fortified margarine or breakfast cereal
    # Women who are in one of the above situations may need a higher daily dose of vitamin D



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