Is Vitamin E good for pregnancy? – Nutritional importance & benefits

Small amounts of vitamin E are also contained in wholemeal products

While not usually in the limelight, Vitamin E plays a crucial role during pregnancy, affecting the well-being of both the mother and the baby. 

In this article, we will take a straightforward look at the nutritional importance and the benefits of Vitamin E during pregnancy, offering expectant mothers essential information for making informed choices to support their health and their child's development.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information included in this material is for informational purposes only. Always seek medical advice for any concerns about health and nutrition.

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E belongs to the group of fat-soluble vitamins, which means that it is processed by the body only in combination with fat. Above all, vitamin E is good for skin, hair, and mucous membranes. But it is also involved in building the muscles, the connective tissue, and the blood vessels. 

The lack of Vitamin E can lead to Vitamin E deficiency. Usually, dry, wrinkly skin is the first sign of a vitamin E deficiency, and at the same time, you feel tired and tetchy. The metabolism of the muscles does not fully work, and the formation of red blood cells might also be reduced.

Why is it important for pregnant women?

Here are several reasons why Vitamin E is essential during pregnancy:

  • Fetal development: Vitamin E helps in the formation of various organs and tissues, including the brain and nervous system.

  • Reduction in preeclampsia risk: Adequate Vitamin E intake may be associated with a lower risk of developing preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.

  • Antioxidant protection: Pregnancy is a period of increased oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage. As an antioxidant, it helps protect cells from this damage, reducing the risk of complications. 

  • Immune system support: A strong immune system is crucial during pregnancy. Vitamin E contributes to immune function, helping to defend against infections and illnesses.

  • Skin health: 8 out of 10 pregnant women get stretch marks. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin, which can be especially beneficial during pregnancy when skin may undergo changes due to hormonal fluctuations and stretching. 

  • Blood flow regulation: Vitamin E helps maintain proper blood circulation, which is essential for providing oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus.

  • Cell growth and repair: It plays a crucial role in cell growth and repair processes, supporting the development of the placenta and fetal organs.

  • Neurological health: Vitamin E is important for the development of the baby's nervous system, which is critical for long-term health and cognitive function.

How much Vitamin E is recommended in pregnancy?

The recommended daily intake of Vitamin E can vary based on age, sex, and life stage. Before pregnancy, adult women are typically advised to consume around 15 milligrams (mg). 

During pregnancy, the recommended daily intake for pregnant women is 10mg and 14 for lactating mothers per day. Many prenatal vitamins also contain Vitamin E to help pregnant women meet their nutritional needs. For breastfeeding moms, the recommendations usually return to the same levels as before pregnancy, which is around 19 mg.

It's important for women to consult with their healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate intake for their individual circumstances.

Can you take too much Vitamin E? 

While Vitamin E is an important nutrient, taking high doses in supplement form can lead to health issues. Excessive Vitamin E intake may interfere with blood clotting, potentially leading to increased bleeding risk. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea and diarrhea. 

It's crucial to meet your Vitamin E needs primarily through a balanced diet and consult with a healthcare professional before considering supplementation to avoid potential risks associated with overconsumption.

Best food sources that are high in Vitamin E

Incorporating a variety of these foods into your daily diet can help you maintain adequate Vitamin E levels while enjoying a diverse and nutritious menu.

Here are some of the best food sources high in Vitamin E:

  • Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin E. A small handful of nuts or a sprinkling of seeds can provide a significant portion of your daily requirement.
  • Vegetable oils: Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are rich in Vitamin E. 
  • Leafy greens: Spinach and Swiss chard contain Vitamin E and can be incorporated into salads, stir-fries, or smoothies.
  • Avocado: It can be added to salads, and sandwiches, or enjoyed as guacamole.
  • Kiwi: Kiwi fruit is a delicious source of Vitamin E, along with various other vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Butternut squash: This winter squash variety is a good source of Vitamin E and can be roasted, mashed, or added to soups.
  • Fish: Some fatty fish like trout and salmon contain Vitamin E.
  • Tomato sauce: Tomato sauce or tomato paste, when prepared with olive oil, offers a combination of lycopene and Vitamin E
  • Red bell peppers: Red bell peppers are not only rich in Vitamin C but also provide a modest amount of Vitamin E.


Should you supplement Vitamin E during pregnancy?

In general, most pregnant women can obtain the necessary Vitamin E through a balanced diet and do not require supplementation. Excessive Vitamin E supplementation can lead to potential health risks, including increased bleeding tendencies. 

Consult with your doctor before considering any Vitamin E supplementation during pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions on Vitamin E:

Is Vitamin E good for early pregnancy?

During the early stages of pregnancy, Vitamin E contributes to the formation of vital organs and tissues in the growing baby. However, it's generally best to obtain this nutrient from a well-balanced diet rather than relying solely on supplements.

What foods are rich in Vitamin E?

Foods rich in Vitamin E include nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts, as well as seeds like sunflower seeds. Vegetable oils, like sunflower oil and wheat germ oil, are also excellent sources. Leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard, as well as avocado, are additional dietary options to help meet your Vitamin E needs.

Can I supplement Vitamin E without food?

Vitamin E supplements are typically available in both food-based and standalone forms. While you can take Vitamin E supplements without food, it is often recommended to take them with a meal containing some healthy fats or oils to enhance absorption. 

Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it is better absorbed when consumed with dietary fats. However, consult with your doctor before starting any supplementation to determine the most suitable form and dosage for your individual needs, especially during pregnancy.

How much Vitamin E do you need per day?

The recommended daily intake of Vitamin E for pregnant women typically falls within the range of 15 to 19 milligrams (mg) per day, the most biologically active form of Vitamin E. Meeting this requirement is crucial during pregnancy to support both maternal health and fetal development. 

It's essential to achieve this intake through a balanced diet that includes Vitamin E-rich foods and to consult with a doctor for personalized recommendations to ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy.


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