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Why you need riboflavin during pregnancy
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is an essential vitamin that helps your body produce energy. It promotes your baby's growth, good vision, and healthy skin. Riboflavin is also essential for your baby's bone, muscle, and nerve development.
There's some evidence that women who don't get enough riboflavin may be at greater risk for preeclampsia.
How much riboflavin you need
Pregnant women: 1.4 milligrams (mg) per day
Breastfeeding moms: 1.6 mg per day
Nonpregnant women: 1.1 mg per day
Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn't store it – you'll need to get enough each day.
Food sources of riboflavin
Milk, bread products, and fortified cereals are all good sources of riboflavin. Wheat flours and breads are also enriched with this vitamin.
Note: Exposure to light can destroy riboflavin, so keep foods tightly sealed in opaque containers or in a cupboard.
Try these foods:
- 1 cup nonfat milk: 0.45 mg
- 1 ounce almonds: 0.29 mg
- 1 large egg, hard boiled: 0.26 mg
- 1 cup fortified puffed wheat cereal: 0.22 mg
- 1/2 cup spinach, cooked: 0.21 mg
- 3 ounces dark chicken meat, roasted: 0.16 mg
- 3 ounces ground beef, cooked: 0.15 mg
- six spears asparagus, boiled: 0.13 mg
- 3 ounces salmon, cooked: 0.13 mg
- 1 ounce cheddar cheese: 0.11 mg
- 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped and boiled: 0.10 mg
- one slice enriched white bread: 0.09 mg
- 3 ounces roasted light chicken meat: 0.08 mg
- one slice whole wheat bread: 0.06 mg
(Note that 3 ounces of meat or fish is about the size of a deck of cards.)
Should you take a supplement?
You'll probably get enough riboflavin from a diet that includes a variety of grains, dairy products, eggs, meats, green vegetables, and enriched cereals and grains, and most prenatal supplements provide the dietary reference intake (DRI) for riboflavin.
However, some women are at higher risk for a riboflavin deficiency, including women who are vegetarians, lactose intolerant, or have anorexia. Anemia, dermatitis, and sore and cracked lips and mouth are among the signs of a riboflavin deficiency.