Vitamin B12 During Pregnancy – Importance and Vegetarian Sources

5 min read

Written by Suma rp

Suma rp

Vitamin B12 during pregnancy

During pregnancy, your baby eats whatever you eat. Their healthy development is linked to your carefulness with diet. See, what will happen if a lion starts eating grass? What if a rabbit starts eating meat? They won’t survive, let alone thrive, right? Why is that? Because the organs of their body derive nutrients when they eat certain foods. Similarly, for thousands of years, human beings have eaten some food, for instance, food containing B12 such as meat, dairy products, fish, eggs, etc. Now, some organs of the body can’t function optimally without them. Hence, vitamin B12, like all other nutrients is very important during pregnancy. 

People who lack B12 often complain of feeling tired, constipated, and so on. This becomes a matter of concern when you’re pregnant, and a vegan or vegetarian. So, this comprehensive article is your go-to guide for Vitamin B12 symptoms, B12-rich vegetarian or vegan sources, and the required quantity you need every day. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What is Vitamin B12?

Our body gets this essential nutrient through meat, dairy, and fish. Intake of this nutrient through food or otherwise allows our body to form healthy red blood cells. For example, see healthy red blood cells as boats carrying passengers called oxygen to different parts of your body. If these cells are unhealthy, your body and brain will not be oxygenated. Thus, you will feel tired and depressed. Vitamin B12 is one of the building blocks of the brain and nerve cells.

Importance of Vitamin B12 During Pregnancy

pregnant woman taking vitamins

When you’re pregnant, your baby needs some essential nutrients to form a healthy body and brain. Therefore, ensuring that you take all the essential nutrients is very crucial, and vitamin B12 is one of them.

Vitamin B12 aids in the better development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. A deficiency of vitamin B12 during pregnancy can not be compensated after childbirth. Furthermore, it has been shown in many studies that those women who were deficient in vitamin B12 had a 5 times more possibility of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects.

Aside from all these, an optimum supply of vitamin B12 during pregnancy has many benefits

  • Aids in digestive health
  • Optimal use of iron throughout the body
  • Improves metabolism
  • Provides better immunity
  • Strengthens the system physically, mentally, and emotionally

Ideal Amount of Vitamin B12 During Pregnancy

As you can guess, you are feeding both yourself and the little one in your stomach. So you will need a bit more Vitamin B12 as compared to usual days.

For optimal health, you must eat 2.2 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin B12 per day.

It’s understandable that you’re puzzled about how to measure such a small quantity. And you’re thinking about how to ensure that you get this quantity of Vitamin B12 daily. For that, you can read about Vitamin B12-rich food below. Simply eat a combination of these foods regularly in the mentioned quantities, and your body will have healthy B12 levels.

[Read : Vitamin B7 During Pregnancy]

Top Vegetarian and Plant-Based Food Sources For Vitamin B12 During Pregnancy

vegetarian sources for vitamin B12 during pregnancy

Vitamin B12 is found largely in meat, but even if you’re a vegetarian/vegan, you can get an adequate quantity of this nutrient every day. 

Here is a list of vegetarian and plant-based food sources for vitamin B12

1. Milk

Drinking one cup (240ml) of whole milk every day will put a checkmark on 46% of the daily value (DV) of Vitamin B12 consumption. In simple words, if you meet 100% of the daily value for vitamin B12 or any nutrient, you won’t have to worry about its deficiency.

However, because you’re carrying a baby, your body needs a little more consumption of milk or any other preferred source of your B12 than the daily value.

2. Cheese

Include about 22 grams of Cheese in your everyday diet to meet the adequate amount of vitamin B12 requirements during pregnancy.

3. Yogurt

Yoghurt has been found to heal people out of their Vitamin B12 deficiency as well. Simply add a 6-ounce container of low-fat plain yogurt and fulfill 16% of the daily value (DV) for B12.

[Read : Is Greek Yogurt Safe During Pregnancy?]

4. B12 Fortified Cereals

Another great way to stay at healthy B12 levels is to eat cereal for breakfast. Cereals are rich in B12. Eating cereals will provide you with a bit more than enough supply of B12, and that is healthy and completely safe.

5. B12 Fortified Soy Milk

There is a huge wave ongoing in this world where people are becoming vegans. People are even replacing dairy products like milk with soy milk or coconut milk. Moreover, you can take B12 fortified soy milk with Corn flakes, as a milkshake, and even with flavors.

[Read : How Safe Is Soy Milk During Pregnancy?]

6. B12 Fortified Almond Milk

You can purchase B12 fortified Almond milk online or from stores. If you prefer, Almond milk can very easily be prepared at home. Simply refer to some popular cooking channels on YouTube to make it.

7. Nutritional Yeast

If you’re a fan of plant-based protein, B vitamins, and fat-free and sugar-free food, this might be one of the great choices for you. Nutritional yeast will do well with many foods – sprinkle it on salads, pizza, soups, and popcorn, or if you would like to get creative, use it in gravies.

8. Plant-Based Meats

Plant-based meat can help you meet your B12 requirements every day even with a vegetarian or vegan diet. But ensure not to consume such plant-based meats in excess during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency During Pregnancy 

pregnant woman bothered with symptoms

Some common symptoms pregnant women deficient in Vitamin B12 show are

  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Palpitations
  • Feeling faint
  • Pale skin

When to See the Doctor?

If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet and are experiencing some of the symptoms, you should visit your doctor. Vitamin B12 deficiency can hamper fetal growth and hence it is important not to ignore the symptoms. Consult your healthcare professional immediately in case you’re having some severe symptoms like inflammation of the tongue, or a burning sensation in certain parts of your body.

Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It plays a crucial role in aiding fetal brain development. Hence, you must include vitamin B12 in your diet very consciously during pregnancy. There are numerous vegetarian sources for you to rely on for vitamin B12. Ensure to include them in your daily diet, with the help of your nutritionist and doctor. Watch out for symptoms that may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency and don’t neglect them. 


1. What Plant-Based Foods Are High in Vitamin B12?

The best plant-based sources of B12 are fortified soy or coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and fortified cereals.

2. How Can I Increase My B12 Naturally?

Include vitamin B12-rich foods in your daily diet. This can help you reach the target without the need for supplements. But during pregnancy, you need 2.2 mcg of B12 daily. So, including some B12-rich food in your meals regularly will do the job.

3. What is The Most Common Cause of B12 Deficiency?

While it’s a matter of free will to not eat meat, fish, and other dairy products, not balancing their absence with other B12-rich food causes the lack of B12 in most people.

Read Also: Vitamin B5 During Pregnancy

Suma rp,M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) Rayalaseema University B.Sc (Biotechnology) Sri Krishna Devaraya University.

Suma is a passionate content writer with a strong keenness to understand the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Suma has successfully transitioned into a full-time content writer and a key contributor at Being The Parent. She leverages on her experimental background in chemistry and experience in writing to come up with well-researched content that helps parents struggling to deal with various medical conditions of their children.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.