Healthy Start Vitamins
FREE VITAMINS for you and your child
Are you pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant? Do you have a child under 5 years?
You can now get FREE vitamins for you and your child.
Why women should take Healthy Start vitamins
A healthy balanced diet is important for everyone but is especially important if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Being pregnant means providing for your own needs but also for your growing baby.
Being a new mum takes a lot out of your body. As well as eating a good diet you will be encouraged to take the Healthy Start vitamins for Women.
These have been specially made to give you the right amount of extra vitamins you will need in one single tablet each day.
Although most vitamins are found in the foods you eat, it is important to make sure you are getting enough folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin D.
If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or there is a chance you might become pregnant, you should take a folic acid supplement and eat more foods containing folate (the natural form of folic acid) such as green leafy vegetables, oranges and fortified bread and breakfast cereals. You will be encouraged to take 400mcg (0.4mg) of folic acid every day before you get pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy - the exact amount which is in the Healthy Start Vitamins for Women.
Vitamin C is important for general health and for the immune system. It helps wounds to heal. It also helps you absorb iron. Your body needs time to build up iron throughout pregnancy so taking Vitamin C is a great way to ensure your body has enough iron. You can get vitamin C from fruit and vegetables, especially blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and mangoes are also good sources.
Vitamin D is needed to grow strong bones and teeth and to keep them healthy. Vitamin D is found in a few foods such as oily fish, eggs, margarine and fortified breakfast cereals, but we get most of it from being outdoors in the sunlight. Our bodies are able to make vitamin D from the action of the suns rays on our skin but in Scotland we do not have enough sunlight between November and April.
To make up what is missing you should take vitamin D throughout your pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding. If you have dark skin, or cover your skin, you are more at risk from vitamin D deficiency.
Why children should take Healthy Start Vitamins
Children need lots of vitamins to help them grow up strong and healthy. Your young children may not get enough vitamins C and D from their food for the same reason as mum (see above). Your child may also not get enough Vitamin A from their food.
Vitamin A helps with growth, eyesight and healthy skin. Your children can get this from, eggs, oily fish (such as mackerel), milk, fortified margarine and yoghurt. The body also makes vitamin A from beta carotene found in orange, red and dark green vegetables such as spinach, carrots and red peppers, and yellow fruit such as mango and melon.
As well as eating a good healthy diet, you will be encouraged to give your child Healthy Start Vitamins from 6 months (if breastfed or taking less than 500ml of formula each day as formula milk already has the vitamins added) until their 5th birthday.
A daily dose of 5 drops of Healthy Start Childrens Vitamins will give your child all the extra vitamins they need.
For your information, click here, to see the clinics stocking the Healthy Start mulit-vitamins
More Information on Healthy Start in general can be found at www.healthystart.nhs.uk
or contact the Health InequalitiesTeam on 01383 565497
If you would like more information on Healthy Start vouchers, please phone 0845 607 6823 (9am - 5pm Monday - Friday) or textphone 0845 601 7698.