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Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is one of the most important vitamins that your body requires during pregnancy. It has several benefits and the deficiency of this vitamin during pregnancy can cause a lot many complications to the mother as well as the baby.
What Is Riboflavin?
Riboflavin is a vitamin that comes under the Vitamin B group. The body requires it to metabolize fat and protein. It also helps in converting carbohydrates into glucose which is required to energise the body. Riboflavin is found in many of our daily food items, but since it is soluble in water, it gets easily drained out of the body. Hence, it is important to include food items rich in Vitamin B2 in your daily diet. It helps treat migraines and corneal ectasia.
Importance of Vitamin B2 in Pregnancy
Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 is extremely important during pregnancy. Following are the reasons why you should increase your intake of Vitamin B2 during pregnancy.
- Morning sickness and nausea can make you tired during pregnancy. But if you take Vitamin B2 in the right amounts, you can combat fatigue and feel energized.
- It helps in the development of the baby’s bones, nervous system, and muscles in the womb.
- The deficiency of this vitamin may trigger preeclampsia or can maximize the chances of the baby having birth defects, so perhaps you realise how important this vitamin is.
- Riboflavin helps in the absorption of iron which prevents anaemia during pregnancy.
- It also prevents muscle cramping which is quite common during pregnancy.
Recommended Daily Intake for Pregnant Women
Vitamin B2 supplement during pregnancy should be taken only if it is prescribed by your doctor. Other than that, the body gets enough Riboflavin through a healthy diet and the multivitamin prescribed by your doctor during pregnancy. Generally, about 1.2 – 1.3 milligrams of Riboflavin is recommended. However, during pregnancy, an increase of 0.3 – 0.4 milligrams in the daily intake of the vitamin is usually suggested.
The deficiency of riboflavin occurs when our diet lacks the generally recommended amount of Vitamin B2. This causes skin lesions, lesions in the digestive tract, or sometimes neurological disorders.
Some of the symptoms of the Vitamin B2 disorder include:
- Fissuring and dry scaling of the surface of the lips
- Swelling of the lips
- Ulcers and cracks on the corners of the mouth
- Rashes and scaly skin on the scrotum and vulva
- Tongue ulcers
- Very sensitive, red and itchy eyes
- Numb hands
- A neurological disorder that leads to less sensitivity to touch and temperature
Food Sources of Vitamin B2
A lot many food items used in the Indian kitchen are a good source of Riboflavin. Some of them are listed below. If you are pregnant, you can make these food items a part of your diet, however, consult with your dietician before consuming.
- Sesame seeds
- Soybean Seed
- Mustard seeds
- Cashew nuts
- Skimmed milk powder
- Bengal gram
- Moong dal
- Moth beans
- Red Lentil
- Black gram
- Horse gram
- Finger millet
Some of the frequently asked questions on riboflavin during pregnancy are as follows.
1. Who Is At the Risk of Riboflavin Deficiency?
Pregnant women, particularly vegetarians, suffer from lactose or gluten intolerance or have eating disorders like anorexia, are likely to have riboflavin deficiency.
2. Is It Safe to Take Riboflavin Supplements during Pregnancy?
Vitamin B2 supplements should be taken only after consulting a doctor or only if prescribed by the doctor.
3. Is It Necessary to Eat Riboflavin-rich Foods Every Day during Pregnancy?
Riboflavin being water soluble gets flushed out of the body through urine, bile, and sweat. The body is unable to store much of it. Therefore, it is essential to eat riboflavin-rich foods every day.
4. Can You Take Vitamin B2 Supplements while Pregnant?
Vitamin B2 supplements during pregnancy can be taken only if it has been prescribed by the doctor. Otherwise, a healthy diet which includes green leafy vegetables, meat, grains, cereals, skimmed milk, yoghurt, nuts, eggs, and the prenatal multivitamin supplements prescribed by the doctor is sufficient enough to meet the daily recommended riboflavin dosage for pregnant women.
5. What Happens If You Take Too Much of Vitamin B2 during Pregnancy?
Since riboflavin is water-soluble, it gets drained out of the body through urine, sweat, and bile. Therefore, there is rarely a chance of the body having an excess of it. However, an overdose of riboflavin and pregnancy at the same time may cause a number of side effects:
- Frequent urination
- Sensitivity to light
- Allergic reactions like hives, swelling of lips, tongue or the face
- In rare cases, one may suffer from a severe allergic reaction or respiratory problems
Although having a normal level of riboflavin is mandatory during pregnancy, overdoing it by taking additional supplements may cause health complications. It may pose a risk to you as well as your baby in the womb. So, take it in optimal amounts and if you have any doubts, you can always consult your doctor.
Also Read: Taking Vitamin B12 in Pregnancy