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As a mommy-to-be, you have to take a balanced diet for you and your baby. An adequate amount of vitamins and minerals not only help you cope up with the changes happening in your body in pregnancy but they are also beneficial for foetal growth and development. Vitamin B6 which is also known as Pyridoxine is responsible for producing amino acids and metabolising macronutrients such as, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Vitamin B6 is of utmost importance in performing vital functions, such as blood cell generation to the proper functioning of the brain. Including Vitamin B6 in your diet helps you sail healthily and smoothly through your pregnancy.
Is it Safe to Take Vitamin B6 During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is not only extraordinarily safe but necessary to take Vitamin B6 during pregnancy. However, it is recommended to take this vitamin from the natural sources, which is from the diet that you eat and not by consuming supplements.
Why Do You Need Pyridoxine/Vitamin B6 During Pregnancy?
You need Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 during pregnancy because of the following reasons:
- Intake of Vitamin B6 helps in easing nausea and vomiting
- It aids in regulating blood sugar levels in your body
- Consuming Vitamin B6 in pregnancy boosts your baby’s brain development and nervous system
- It also metabolises carbohydrates and protein in your body
- It also aids in generation of red blood cells and antibodies in your body
How Much Vitamin B6 Do You Need?
|Women||Daily requirement of Vitamin B6|
|In Pregnancy||1.9 mg|
|While Breastfeeding||2.0 mg|
|Others (non-pregnant women 19-50 years)||1.3 mg|
* mg = milligrams
It is crucial for a pregnant woman to consume the required amounts of Vitamin B6; however, it is also advised to monitor any excess intake of this vitamin. Though limited excess amounts do not pose much threat, high levels of Vitamin B6 may lead to numbness, nerve damage and other serious complications.
Various Food Sources of Vitamin B6
Here are some food sources of Vitamin B6:
- Cereals and whole wheat grains
- Nuts and seeds, such as hazelnuts and cashew nuts
- Fruits, such as papaya and banana
- Lentils, such as chickpeas and kidney beans
- Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals and bread
- Poultry, such as turkey and chicken
- Fish, such as salmon and tuna
- Lean beef and lean pork
- Dried fruits, such as apricots and prunes
- Leafy vegetables such as spinach
Vitamin B6 Snack Ideas
Here are some delicious Vitamin B6 snack ideas:
- You may roast some hazelnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios, add a little salt. These may taste yummy, but it is advised not to go overboard with it.
- You may bake a sweet potato and sprinkle some salt and few drops of lemon for a perfect filling snack.
- You may eat your favourite breakfast cereal with some milk.
- You may snack on raisins, apricots and prunes. It also satiates your sugar craving.
- You may try natural vegetable juices. Keep in check the added sugar that you may be consuming.
- You may opt for prune juice, though everyone may not like its taste it is rich in Vitamin B6.
- You may eat boiled or canned chickpeas, though cooked chickpeas would be a better and a healthier option.
- You may pop in some sunflower seeds as a quick snacking option.
- You may eat a medium sized banana or avocado
Can You Take Vitamin B6 as a Supplement?
Though most of your Vitamin B6 requirement in pregnancy is taken care of by the food, you eat. Most pregnancy multivitamins also contain reasonable amounts of Vitamin B6; however, if your health practitioner feels that you need supplements, you will be prescribed the required amounts of supplements. You will be prescribed Vitamin B6 supplements to ward off morning sickness or nausea. It is recommended not to take any Vitamin B6 supplements on your own, since it may lead to various health complications for you and your foetus.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Many reasons cause a deficiency of Vitamin B6 in your body. Though the deficiency is generally milder in non-pregnant women, it may reach alarming levels in pregnancy due to your body’s increased demand for Vitamin B6. The most common cause of the deficiency is not getting adequate amounts of Vitamin B6 from your diet, however, increased consumption of processed foods, sugary foods or alcohol may lead to this deficiency also. Some health conditions or illnesses may also lead to a deficiency of Vitamin B6. You need adequate amounts of pyridoxine hydrochloride during pregnancy, and in case you have a deficiency of this vitamin in your body, you may notice the following symptoms:
- It may lead to lethargy and fatigue
- It may cause neurological degeneration
- It may cause mood swings and depression
- It may cause inflammation of the digestive system, joints and skin
- It may also cause anaemia
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advised to seek immediate medical help. Prompt action and assistance in dealing with Vitamin B6 deficiency may not cause severe complications for you or your baby.
Taking care of your health in pregnancy is of utmost priority, and this includes consuming right kind of diet. Vitamin B6 is an essential element of your diet. In case you feel that you may not be drinking adequate amounts of Vitamin B6 in your pregnancy, you may get in touch with a doctor and know how to add this wondrous vitamin efficiently in your diet.