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Why do I need vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for tissue repair, wound and bone healing, and healthy skin. Vitamin C also helps your body fight infection.

Both you and your baby need this vitamin daily — it's the cementing agent that holds new cells together. It helps your baby grow and builds strong bones and teeth. And it helps your body absorb iron. Try to include a vitamin C-rich food with every meal to get the most iron out of the other foods you eat.

How much do I need?

You'll need at least 85 mg of vitamin C daily during pregnancy — about what you'd expect to get if you drink a small glass of orange juice. That goes up to 120 mg when you're breastfeeding.

Should I take a supplement?

Probably not. It's easy to get the daily requirements through food. A glass of calcium-fortified orange juice at breakfast every day is all you need.

What are the best food sources?

Citrus fruits, tomatoes, tomato juice, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach are all good sources. It's best to get your vitamin C from fresh sources such as these:

* 8 oz. orange juice: 124 mg
* 1 papaya: 93.9 mg
* 1 cup strawberries: 84.5 mg
* 8 oz. grapefruit juice: 72 mg
* 1/2 cup boiled broccoli: 58.2 mg
* 1/2 pink or red grapefruit: 23.4 mg
* 1 cup raspberries: 30.7 mg
* 1/2 mango: 28.7 mg
* 1 tomato: 23.5 mg
* 1/2 boiled cabbage: 18.2 mg
* 1/2 cup boiled beet greens: 17.9 mg

What are signs of a deficiency?

Signs of a deficiency include brittle hair; rough, dry skin; slow-healing cuts; and bruises.

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