Vitamin B12 is beneficial and essential for the needs of your body and your unborn baby during pregnancy. You may find yourself wondering if you need a supplement in order to provide what you may be missing. Unless you are deficient in vitamin B12, a supplement is likely not necessary, and taking too much vitamin B12 may harm your baby.
Vitamin B12 helps the function and development of your brain, nerves and blood cells. It also assists with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and can improve your energy levels, mood and stress levels during pregnancy. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you can suffer from fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression and in severe cases, brain damage.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are rare among women of childbearing age. You need only 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 daily, which you can typically get from food sources such as meat, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish.
According to Medline Plus, taking a vitamin B12 supplement is likely safe for pregnant women if it is taken orally and in the daily recommended amount of 2.6 mcg a day. You may need to take a supplement during pregnancy if you are already deficient in vitamin B12.
The safety of taking more vitamin B12 than recommended during pregnancy is unknown. Since it is not known if regularly exceeding 2.6 mcg a day could harm your baby, a vitamin B12 supplement may not be a good choice if you eat a healthy varied diet and are already taking a prenatal multivitamin.
Talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements during pregnancy, even if you have taken them before. Your nutritional needs change during pregnancy to reflect the needs of your growing baby, and your doctor can determine which supplements, vitamins, or ways to change your diet can best provide for those needs.