Taking Vitamin B1 in Pregnancy: Benefits, Intake & Food Sources

Taking Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

A majority of pregnant women are always confused about what to eat and avoid during pregnancy. A healthy diet during pregnancy provides the right nutrition to the baby and ensures his well-being. Your diet should comprise of foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals. One such essential vitamin is ‘Thiamine’, also known as ‘Vitamin B1’. Here, we discuss the importance of the vitamin and provide you with a list of important foods rich in Vitamin B1.

What Is Thiamine?

Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is an essential vitamin obtained from food that is crucial for the development of the foetus. It is used along with other B vitamins and can be found in many multi-vitamin or vitamin B complex products.

Importance of Vitamin B1 in Pregnancy

If you are pregnant for the first time, it is normal to have doubts about the foods you eat. You may also wonder if vitamin B1 is safe to take during pregnancy. Well, rest assured! Vitamin B1 is not only safe but is also an essential vitamin because of the following reasons:

  • Thiamine is essential to the body for proper utilisation of carbohydrates.
  • It is also important for muscle function and for the nervous system.
  • It is important in placental function and growth of the foetus.

Recommended Daily Intake of Thiamine for Pregnant Women

The recommended daily intake of thiamine during pregnancy must be 1.4 mg per day. This is regardless of the age of a pregnant woman. Multiple pregnancies call for increased dosages due to an increase in the number of foetuses.

Signs of Thiamine Deficiency

A deficiency of vitamin B1 in chronic form is known as beriberi. Beriberi is not very prevalent and is only caused by a severe lack of thiamine or due to alcoholism. The disease is either wet beriberi or dry beriberi. Early signs and symptoms are mentioned below.

Symptoms of Dry Beriberi:

  • Mental confusion
  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of sensation of hands and feet
  • Loss of muscle function of legs

Symptoms of Wet Beriberi:

Vitamin B1 Rich Food Sources

Whole grain products, cereals, lean pork, and peas contain a sizeable amount of Vitamin B1. Other than these foods, listed below are some other foods rich in Vitamin B1.

  • 1 cup of toasted wheat germ – 1.88 mg
  • A slice of white bread – 0.23 mg
  • A slice of whole wheat – 0.1 mg
  • One large hardboiled egg – 0.03 mg
  • 1/2 a cup of cooked green peas – 0.21 mg
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice – 0.19 mg
  • 34 grams of pecans – 0.19 mg
  • 1 cup of cooked and enriched white rice – 0.26 mg
  • 4 grams of lean tenderloin of pork – 0.81 mg
  • 1 cup of puff wheat cereal (fortified) – 0.31 mg
  • 1/2 cup of cooked lentils – 0.17 mg
  • A medium orange – 0.11 mg
  • 1/2 a piece of cantaloupe – 0.11 mg

Can You Take Vitamin B1 Supplements During Pregnancy?

A pregnant lady can meet her daily dietary requirements of thiamine by following a well-balanced diet. As it is easily found in cereals, whole grains, and other commonly available sources, a supplement is not required under normal circumstances. However, in the case of multiple pregnancies, the doctor may recommend oral supplements or injectable vitamin B1. Excessive vomiting during the first trimester may also lead to depletion of vitamin B1. Injectable thiamine should be administered by a medical practitioner.

What Happens If Pregnant Women Take Too Much Thiamine?

There is no data that shows any adverse effect of excess thiamine during pregnancy. However, rare cases of skin irritation or allergic reactions have been noted.

Thiamine in the body can rapidly plummet if the metabolic demand is high during pregnancy. Therefore, it is essential to make sure your intake of food covers all food groups and is a healthy mix of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and meat. If you are a vegetarian, whole grains and cereals should provide thiamine to you in sufficient amounts. So, eat well, keep that smile on and make sure you get all the vitamins that your special little angel requires while growing inside you.

Also Read: Guideline on Diet Plan for Pregnant Women

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