Vitamin E in pregnancy
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Vitamin E helps your body create and maintain red blood cells, healthy skin and eyes, and strengthens your natural immune system1. It’s best to include a healthy dose of vitamin E in your pregnancy diet by eating the right foods, rather than taking supplements.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many foods, such as olive oil and brocolli1. With its antioxidant properties, one of vitamin E's main functions is protecting cell membranes from damage2 – a healthy intake of vitamin E contributes to the structure of cells throughout your body.
Vitamin E also contributes to healthy skin and eyes, in addition to strengthening your immune system1.
Scientific studies have shown that an adequate intake of vitamin E during pregnancy reduces the likelihood of your baby developing asthma and respiratory issues later in life3,4.
Although it’s a necessary nutrient for your own health and your baby’s growth, it’s important to stick to a healthy intake of vitamin E during your pregnancy – that means not too much and not too little2.
Your recommended daily intake of vitamin E during pregnancy is 3mg, which should be easily achievable by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet1.
80g raw broccoli contains 1.4mg vitamin E
One handful of walnuts contains 1.9mg vitamin E
Some supplements, such as multi vitamins, can contain high doses of Vitamin E, so to avoid getting too much, make sure any supplements you take are pregnancy-safe and contain no more than 3mg of vitamin per daily dose.
Don't worry about getting too much vitamin E from food – it’s difficult to get vitamin E in high doses from your diet alone.
It’s also worth remembering that because vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, your body can build up stores of it in your liver, ready for when you need it.
|Food (100g)||Nutrient quantity (mg)|
|Broccoli (best raw)
|Cherry tomatoes (raw)||0.89|
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Try increasing your intake with these vitamin E-rich snacks and meals:
- NHS. Vitamin E [Online]. 2017. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-e/ [Accessed March 2020].
- British Nutrition Foundation. Vitamin E [Online]. 2016. Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/vitamins.html?limit=1&start=4 [Accessed March 2020].
- Turner SW et al. Associations between fetal size, maternal α-tocopherol and childhood asthma. Thorax 2010;65(5):391-7.
- Devereux G et al. Low maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy is associated with asthma in 5-year-old children. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2006;174(5):499-507.
- Department of Health. Dietary Reference Values for Food energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
- GOV.UK. Composition of foods integrated dataset (CoFID) [Online]. 2015. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/composition-of-foods-integrated-dataset-cofid [Accessed March 2020].
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