8 Vitamin K Rich Foods You Should Take During Pregnancy

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Having a diet rich in necessary vitamins and minerals is crucial during pregnancy. This post highlights the importance of having vitamin K rich foods during pregnancy. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin required to synthesize certain proteins needed for blood coagulation; these proteins protect the body from severe blood loss.

Vitamin K is mostly available in the form of supplements, but it is advised to refrain from taking dietary supplements during pregnancy to prevent complications. Instead, you can have vitamin K-rich foods such as kale, Brussel sprouts, canola, and spinach. Read on to know more about foods that are rich in vitamin K and their benefits during pregnancy.

Why Is Vitamin K Important?

Vitamin K includes a group of compounds like Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Leafy green vegetables are a storehouse of Vitamin K1. While meat, eggs and cheese are rich sources of Vitamin K2. Vitamin K is not usually taken in the form of a dietary supplement, but is essential for many bodily functions. Apart from improving clotting of blood and preventing excessive bleeding, this vitamin may also help treat conditions such as osteoporosis, steroid-induced bone loss, etc.

Vitamin K deficiency is fairly uncommon among adults. However, individuals who are severely malnourished or are suffering from digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease are prone to suffer from this deficiency. Intake of certain medications too may interfere with the absorption of this essential nutrient and could induce its deficiency.

Vitamin K During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is of utmost importance to meet the nutritional requirements to ensure good health of the mother and proper growth of the baby. It is, therefore, important to understand how much vitamin K intake is necessary during pregnancy, and some simple ways to get more of it through diet.

In general, the vitamin K needs do not increase during pregnancy, and the requirements are the same for adult females who are pregnant and those who are not. Your body needs 90 micrograms of vitamin K a day. Consuming too much of this vitamin could prove to be harmful, and could cause the blood to become too thin.

It is important to make sure you get enough vitamin K during pregnancy, especially as you enter your third trimester. Vitamin K aids healing as well, which could be particularly helpful for you post labor and childbirth.

In addition, a deficiency of vitamin K in pregnancy could turn out to be risky for both the mother and the baby, and may cause the development of cholestasis. The condition mostly affects women in their third trimester of pregnancy and is a hormonally induced disruption of the flow of bile in the gallbladder. The symptoms of Cholestasis include depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, severe itching, etc. If you are suffering from cholestasis, increasing your vitamin K intake becomes an absolute priority and necessity.

Food Sources Of Vitamin K

In most cases, following a well-balanced diet during pregnancy is enough to meet your body’s requirement of vitamin K, and possibly many other vitamins and minerals as well. In addition, you can also consider including more foods that contain vitamin K in your diet, some of them include:

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Collard greens
  5. Yogurt
  6. Cheese
  7. Milk
  8. Meat

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is vitamin K safe during pregnancy?

Studies on the reproductive or teratogenic risk of vitamin K are limited. However, no toxicity has been reported for using vitamin K during pregnancy, and no tolerable upper limit has been set (1). It is advisable to take vitamin supplements only under medical supervision during pregnancy.

2. Which fruits are the source of vitamin K?

Fruits containing vitamin K include blueberries, grapes, pomegranate, and figs (not technically a fruit but an inflorescence) (2).

3. Are bananas high in vitamin K?

Bananas are poor sources of vitamin K. Raw bananas contain 0.5 micrograms and ripe bananas 0.1 micrograms of vitamin K per 100 grams (3) (4).

4. Are potatoes rich in vitamin K?

Potatoes are not rich in vitamin K. They contain about 1.8 micrograms of vitamin A per 100 grams (5). Vitamin-rich foods such as collards contain about 437 micrograms of the nutrient per 100 grams (6).

Consuming vitamin K-rich foods during pregnancy could aid in the proper functioning of several vital body processes and post-childbirth recovery. Some foods packed with vitamin K are leafy greens, dairy, and meat. Hence, consume these foods in appropriate amounts to maintain your body’s normal vitamin K levels. However, do not take vitamin K supplements unless prescribed by your doctor since excess amounts of this vitamin could cause blood thinning. Overall, it is best to consult your health care professional before adding new foods, medicines, or supplements to your pregnancy diet.

References:

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Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.