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Key Prenatal Nutrients

What are the benefits of Calcium?
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of a back
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis*
Why do I need it?

Your body needs Calcium to develop and maintain bones and teeth (especially in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood). In addition, when Calcium is combined with sufficient Vitamin D, a healthy diet, and regular exercise, it may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Calcium and Vitamin D (to aid its absorption) both support the development and maintenance of bones and teeth—not only in you but also your baby. It is important that Mom makes sure to get enough so her own bones stay strong and dense, as the baby will take what it needs from your stores. Health Canada recommends 1,000 mg of Calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D daily for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Where do I get it?
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified soy milk
  • Sardines
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Dried Beans
  • Nuts
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 1,000 mg (≤50 years old) 1,200 mg (>50 years old)

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 2,500 mg/day for adults less than 50 years old and 2,000 mg/day for adults 50 and older
What’s the science of Calcium?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Almost all of it is stored in your teeth and bones.

Calcium absorption is highest during periods of intense growth, such as childhood and pregnancy, as rapidly growing bones spur demand for the mineral. With the exception of pregnancy, Calcium absorption starts decreasing during adulthood and continues to decrease with age.

In the first few years after menopause, women can begin to experience rapid Calcium loss from their bones. That’s because their estrogen production is decreasing, which causes more bone breakdown.

What are the benefits of Vitamin C?
A green square with a line drawing of two connected lines
Antioxidants*
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of three arrows composing a circle
Metabolism*
Why do I need it?

Vitamin C supports the growth and repair of cells in the body. It supports the formation of collagen, which serves as a structural component of blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bone, and skin. Vitamin C also helps in wound healing, and is needed for the general maintenance of good health.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

When you are pregnant, you will need Vitamin C on a daily basis since it is very essential for both you and your developing baby. This Vitamin is important in making a structural protein known as collagen, which is a cartilage component for most tissues and organs such as bones, tendons and skin. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb Iron.

Where do I get it?
  • Citrus Foods
  • Green Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Broccoli
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 75 mg, 85 mg during pregnancy and 120mg when breastfeeding.

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 2,000 mg/day
  • Intake in excess of 2,000 mg/day can cause diarrhea or temporary gastroenteritis
What’s the science of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by the human body. It must be obtained through diet, but cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, adequate daily intake of Vitamin C is required.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help the body defend against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed from environmental exposures such as cigarette smoke (including second-hand) and air pollution.

What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of a back
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis*
Why do I need it?

Vitamin D helps in the absorption and use of Calcium and Phosphorus in the body, and helps in the development and maintenance of bones and teeth.

If Calcium is taken with sufficient Vitamin D, and a healthy diet and regular exercise, it may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Calcium and Vitamin D (to aid its absorption) both support the development and maintenance of bones and teeth—not only in you but also your baby. It is important that Mom makes sure to get enough so her own bones stay strong and dense, as the baby will take what it needs from your stores. Health Canada recommends 1,000 mg of Calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D daily for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Where do I get it?
  • Egg Yolk
  • Liver
  • Fatty Fish
  • Fortified Dairy Products
How much should I take daily?

Children and adults ≤70 years old: 600 IU

Tolerability and Special Considerations:
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is

  • 2500 IU (1-3 y)
  • 3000 IU (4-8 y)
  • 4000 IU (9-70 y)
What’s the science of Vitamin D?

As nutrients go, Vitamin D is in a class by itself. That’s because Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the body in response to direct exposure of skin to strong ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that the Vitamin D you make and consume from foods and dietary supplements is stored in fat tissue for later use.

Strong sunlight triggers Vitamin D production in your skin. Your liver and kidneys complete the conversion to Vitamin D’s most active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also called Vitamin D3.

A few minutes of direct exposure to the sun a few times a week could give sufficient Vitamin D synthesis, but this can be affected by season, time, length of day, amount of cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content and sunscreen.

What are the benefits of Folate (Folic Acid)?
A blue square with a line drawing of three arrows composing a circle
Metabolism*
Yellow square with a line drawing of DNA
Helps prevent neural tube defects*
Why do I need it?

Folate is essential if you are of childbearing age or are currently pregnant to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. However, it is needed in both males and females, as it also helps to form red blood cells, which are essential to transport oxygen to each and every cell in the body.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Folic Acid is essential to the normal development of the spine, brain, and skull of your baby—especially during the first four weeks of pregnancy. This is a time when many women are not yet aware that they are pregnant. Folic Acid also helps to form red blood cells which you need to support your expanding blood volume due to growing maternal and fetal tissues, such as your uterus (womb) expanding, the placenta developing, your body circulating more blood, and the fetus growing.

That’s why all women who could become pregnant, are planning to have a baby, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding need a daily prenatal multivitamin containing at least 0.4mg of Folic Acid. This supplement, together with the amount of Folic Acid obtained by following Canada's Food Guide, will help decrease the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), and meet the extra Folic Acid needs for women pregnant and breastfeeding.

Where do I get it?
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Whole Grain Cereals
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Bananas
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): Women: 0.4 mg
Pregnant Women: 0.6 mg

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 1 mg/day
What’s the science of Folate?

Folic Acid or Folate is a B-Vitamin that can be found naturally in certain plant foods.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada identifies Folate as a nutrient of concern for women in their childbearing years that are capable of becoming pregnant. That’s because Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects when taken at adequate amounts.

What are the benefits of Iron?
An orange square with a line drawing of drop of blood
Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency*
Why do I need it?

Iron helps to form red blood cells and helps in their proper function. Adequate Iron intake can also help to prevent Iron deficiency anemia.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

For pregnant women, Health Canada recommends getting 27 mg of Iron daily. Ensure you are getting enough by following a balanced diet and taking a prenatal multivitamin containing Iron to help supplement any nutritional gaps.

Also include foods that provide Iron in your daily diet, such as whole grain and Iron-enriched breakfast cereals, lean meats, dried peas and beans, dark green vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. To help your body better absorb the Iron from plant-based foods, eat them in combination with foods high in Vitamin C such as berries, tomatoes, peppers, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and potatoes.

Avoid tea and coffee (during a meal and within one hour of eating a meal), because they can decrease the amount of Iron your body is able to absorb from plant-based foods. Most herbal teas should also be avoided.

Where do I get it?
  • Poultry
  • Red Meat
  • Fish
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Enriched Breakfast Cereals
  • Enriched Breads
  • Peas and Grain Legumes
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 18 mg (≤50 years old), 8 mg (>50 years old)
Pregnant women: 27 mg

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 45 mg
  • May cause Iron overload for people with hemochromatosis
What’s the science of Iron?

Iron is vital for the production of hemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that ferries oxygen to cells). Nearly two-thirds of the body’s Iron is found in hemoglobin. Smaller amounts of Iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that’s responsible for transporting oxygen and storing it on a short-term basis within the muscles.

About 15% of the body's Iron is stored for future needs and mobilized when dietary intake is inadequate. When Iron levels in the blood are low for a prolonged period of time, there is insufficient Iron available to support normal red blood cell production, which may result in an Iron deficiency (also called anemia). Iron deficiency can limit oxygen delivery and the production of enzymes that rely on Iron to function properly.

Key Nutrients mobile

Calcium

What are the benefits of Calcium?
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of a back
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis*
Why do I need it?

Your body needs Calcium to develop and maintain bones and teeth (especially in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood). In addition, when Calcium is combined with sufficient Vitamin D, a healthy diet, and regular exercise, it may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Calcium and Vitamin D (to aid its absorption) both support the development and maintenance of bones and teeth—not only in you but also your baby. It is important that Mom makes sure to get enough so her own bones stay strong and dense, as the baby will take what it needs from your stores. Health Canada recommends 1,000 mg of Calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D daily for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Where do I get it?
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified soy milk
  • Sardines
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Dried Beans
  • Nuts
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 1,000 mg (≤50 years old) 1,200 mg (>50 years old)

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 2,500 mg/day for adults less than 50 years old and 2,000 mg/day for adults 50 and older
What’s the science of Calcium?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Almost all of it is stored in your teeth and bones.

Calcium absorption is highest during periods of intense growth, such as childhood and pregnancy, as rapidly growing bones spur demand for the mineral. With the exception of pregnancy, Calcium absorption starts decreasing during adulthood and continues to decrease with age.

In the first few years after menopause, women can begin to experience rapid Calcium loss from their bones. That’s because their estrogen production is decreasing, which causes more bone breakdown.

Vitamin C

What are the benefits of Vitamin C?
A green square with a line drawing of two connected lines
Antioxidants*
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of three arrows composing a circle
Metabolism*
Why do I need it?

Vitamin C supports the growth and repair of cells in the body. It supports the formation of collagen, which serves as a structural component of blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bone, and skin. Vitamin C also helps in wound healing, and is needed for the general maintenance of good health.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

When you are pregnant, you will need Vitamin C on a daily basis since it is very essential for both you and your developing baby. This Vitamin is important in making a structural protein known as collagen, which is a cartilage component for most tissues and organs such as bones, tendons and skin. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb Iron.

Where do I get it?
  • Citrus Foods
  • Green Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Broccoli
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 75 mg, 85 mg during pregnancy and 120mg when breastfeeding.

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 2,000 mg/day
  • Intake in excess of 2,000 mg/day can cause diarrhea or temporary gastroenteritis
What’s the science of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by the human body. It must be obtained through diet, but cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, adequate daily intake of Vitamin C is required.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help the body defend against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed from environmental exposures such as cigarette smoke (including second-hand) and air pollution.

Vitamin D

What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
A blue square with a line drawing of the bones in an arm
Bone Health*
A yellow square with a line drawing of a tooth
Dental Health*
A blue square with a line drawing of a back
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis*
Why do I need it?

Vitamin D helps in the absorption and use of Calcium and Phosphorus in the body, and helps in the development and maintenance of bones and teeth.

If Calcium is taken with sufficient Vitamin D, and a healthy diet and regular exercise, it may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Calcium and Vitamin D (to aid its absorption) both support the development and maintenance of bones and teeth—not only in you but also your baby. It is important that Mom makes sure to get enough so her own bones stay strong and dense, as the baby will take what it needs from your stores. Health Canada recommends 1,000 mg of Calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D daily for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Where do I get it?
  • Egg Yolk
  • Liver
  • Fatty Fish
  • Fortified Dairy Products
How much should I take daily?

Children and adults ≤70 years old: 600 IU

Tolerability and Special Considerations:
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is

  • 2500 IU (1-3 y)
  • 3000 IU (4-8 y)
  • 4000 IU (9-70 y)
What’s the science of Vitamin D?

As nutrients go, Vitamin D is in a class by itself. That’s because Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the body in response to direct exposure of skin to strong ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that the Vitamin D you make and consume from foods and dietary supplements is stored in fat tissue for later use.

Strong sunlight triggers Vitamin D production in your skin. Your liver and kidneys complete the conversion to Vitamin D’s most active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also called Vitamin D3.

A few minutes of direct exposure to the sun a few times a week could give sufficient Vitamin D synthesis, but this can be affected by season, time, length of day, amount of cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content and sunscreen.

Folate (Folic Acid)

What are the benefits of Folate (Folic Acid)?
A blue square with a line drawing of three arrows composing a circle
Metabolism*
Yellow square with a line drawing of DNA
Helps prevent neural tube defects*
Why do I need it?

Folate is essential if you are of childbearing age or are currently pregnant to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. However, it is needed in both males and females, as it also helps to form red blood cells, which are essential to transport oxygen to each and every cell in the body.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Folic Acid is essential to the normal development of the spine, brain, and skull of your baby—especially during the first four weeks of pregnancy. This is a time when many women are not yet aware that they are pregnant. Folic Acid also helps to form red blood cells which you need to support your expanding blood volume due to growing maternal and fetal tissues, such as your uterus (womb) expanding, the placenta developing, your body circulating more blood, and the fetus growing.

That’s why all women who could become pregnant, are planning to have a baby, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding need a daily prenatal multivitamin containing at least 0.4mg of Folic Acid. This supplement, together with the amount of Folic Acid obtained by following Canada's Food Guide, will help decrease the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), and meet the extra Folic Acid needs for women pregnant and breastfeeding.

Where do I get it?
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Whole Grain Cereals
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Bananas
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): Women: 0.4 mg
Pregnant Women: 0.6 mg

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 1 mg/day
What’s the science of Folate?

Folic Acid or Folate is a B-Vitamin that can be found naturally in certain plant foods.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada identifies Folate as a nutrient of concern for women in their childbearing years that are capable of becoming pregnant. That’s because Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects when taken at adequate amounts.

Iron

What are the benefits of Iron?
An orange square with a line drawing of drop of blood
Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency*
Why do I need it?

Iron helps to form red blood cells and helps in their proper function. Adequate Iron intake can also help to prevent Iron deficiency anemia.

How does it help me when I’m trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding?

For pregnant women, Health Canada recommends getting 27 mg of Iron daily. Ensure you are getting enough by following a balanced diet and taking a prenatal multivitamin containing Iron to help supplement any nutritional gaps.

Also include foods that provide Iron in your daily diet, such as whole grain and Iron-enriched breakfast cereals, lean meats, dried peas and beans, dark green vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. To help your body better absorb the Iron from plant-based foods, eat them in combination with foods high in Vitamin C such as berries, tomatoes, peppers, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and potatoes.

Avoid tea and coffee (during a meal and within one hour of eating a meal), because they can decrease the amount of Iron your body is able to absorb from plant-based foods. Most herbal teas should also be avoided.

Where do I get it?
  • Poultry
  • Red Meat
  • Fish
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Enriched Breakfast Cereals
  • Enriched Breads
  • Peas and Grain Legumes
How much should I take daily?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA):
Women: 18 mg (≤50 years old), 8 mg (>50 years old)
Pregnant women: 27 mg

Tolerability and Special Considerations:

  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 45 mg
  • May cause Iron overload for people with hemochromatosis
What’s the science of Iron?

Iron is vital for the production of hemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that ferries oxygen to cells). Nearly two-thirds of the body’s Iron is found in hemoglobin. Smaller amounts of Iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that’s responsible for transporting oxygen and storing it on a short-term basis within the muscles.

About 15% of the body's Iron is stored for future needs and mobilized when dietary intake is inadequate. When Iron levels in the blood are low for a prolonged period of time, there is insufficient Iron available to support normal red blood cell production, which may result in an Iron deficiency (also called anemia). Iron deficiency can limit oxygen delivery and the production of enzymes that rely on Iron to function properly.

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