Vitamin A is essential for the healthy development of baby’s organs (heart, lungs, kidneys) as well as bones, nerves, and eyes. Because much of the development of these parts of the body happens very early in pregnancy, before you even know that you are pregnant, if you are actively trying it is a good idea to be sure that you are eating foods that contain enough vitamin A to support you and your little one.
Your Nutritional Needs
It isn’t hard to get all of the vitamin A you need from food. Just half of a cup of raw kale, 3 oz of baby carrots, and 1 large hard-boiled egg have all that you need. Or, opt for a half cup of sweet potato (bake it with the skin on it for more nutrition). Vitamin A is found in animals and in plants. While you don’t have to worry about your plant-based vitamin A intake (carotenoids), you should limit your intake of animal-based vitamin A sources, such as liver. This is because they can be very high in vitamin A (more than is recommended for pregnancy), and even a few bites can put you over the recommended amount.
For the same reason, many prenatal vitamin supplements such as OB Complete® do not contain vitamin A. I recommend a plant-based approach to ensure getting a healthy amount of this essential nutrient.