Thiamine (B1) During Pregnancy

Thiamine B1 during pregnancy
Written by: Lauren Slavin LIU Post Dietetic Interns
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In this article:

★ WHAT IS VITAMIN B1 GOOD FOR DURING PREGNANCY?

★ IS THIAMINE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

★ HOW MUCH B1 CAN A PREGNANT WOMAN TAKE?

★ THIAMINE DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS DURING PREGNANCY

★ WHAT IS BERIBERI?

★ FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN B1

★ BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN FOR PREGNANCY

Did you know Thiamine was the first B vitamin to be discovered, coining its name Vitamin B1? 

I’m sure you’ve all heard, the entire B complex of eight vitamins plays a critical role in the health of you and your baby’s during those special nine months. But why is vitamin B1 specifically important?

Today, we will dive deeper into thiamine benefits during pregnancy, as well as the side effects of thiamine deficiency, and vitamin B1 food sources. 

★ WHAT IS VITAMIN B1 GOOD FOR DURING PREGNANCY?

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine vitamin, is needed for glucose metabolism enabling you and your baby to use carbohydrates as energy (1). In pregnancy, thiamine plays a major role in the development of the baby’s brain. It’s also essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function for both the mother and baby (3).

Like all the B vitamins, thiamin is a water soluble vitamin, meaning the body does not store them. Some additional vitamin b1 benefits are strengthening the immune system and improving the body’s ability to tolerate stressful conditions (1). Some people even call it the “anti-stress” vitamin. 

★ IS THIAMINE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

No need to worry, thiamine is safe in pregnancy. In fact, it is an essential nutrient for healthy development of the fetus (3) and has many health benefits

You should alway check with your healthcare provider for medical advice if you need additional thiamine supplements during pregnancy. 

★ HOW MUCH B1 CAN A PREGNANT WOMAN TAKE?

The recommended daily intake of thiamine during pregnancy is 1.4 mg per day for all ages. Women carrying more than one fetus may need a high dose thiamine (1).

★ THIAMINE DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS DURING PREGNANCY

Although vitamin b1 deficiency is rare in the United States, it’s important for both non-pregnant and pregnant women to consume the recommended daily intake from dietary sources and/or their prenatal vitamin. 

Early signs of deficiency include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue. 

    ★ WHAT IS BERIBERI?

    Severe deficiencies of vitamin B1 is known as beriberi in two forms - Dry Beriberi and Wet Beriberi. If left untreated, beriberi can be life-threatening.

    Dry Beriberi affects the nervous system by causing nerve damage that can lead to muscles becoming weak. 

    Wet Beriberi affects the cardiovascular system. In extreme cases, wet beriberi can cause congestive heart failure (2). 

    Symptoms of Dry Beriberi include:

    • Mental confusion
    • Pain
    • Tingling
    • Nausea
    • Difficulty walking
    • Loss of feeling in upper and lower extremities 
    • Loss of muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs

    Symptoms of Wet Beriberi include:

    • Shortness of breath with activity
    • Awakening from sleep short of breath
    • Swelling of the lower legs
    • Increased heart rate

    Beriberi has been associated with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, two forms of brain damage caused by a lack of thiamine in your body.

    ★ FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN B1

    Consuming natural foods is one of the best ways to deal with vitamin deficiencies

    Vitamin B1 food source

    Here is a list of natural thiamine food sources:

    • Peas
    • Oats
    • Lean pork
    • Lentils
    • Pecans
    • Salmon
    • Nuts
    • Dried Beans
    • Wheat Germ
    • Nutritional Yeast
    • Whole Grain Pasta
    • Fortified bread or Cereals

    TRY OUT THIS THIAMINE RICH RECIPE!

    Thiamine Rich Recipe

    Red Lentil Soup (3.4 mg of Thiamine)

    • Water (2 cups)
    • Red Lentils (4 ¼ cup)
    • Red Tomatoes (2 cups)
    • Olive Oil (1 tbsp)
    • Garlic (2 clove)
    • Celery (1 large stalk)
    • Carrots (1 1/3 cup chopped)
    • Onion (1 medium)
    • Lemon (1 fruit without seeds)
    • Spearmint (2 tbsp)

    PREPARATION

    1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
    2. Stir in red tomatoes, add a pinch of salt and black pepper  and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
    3. Add 2 cups of water, lentils, carrots, and celery. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
    4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
    5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and mint. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

    best prenatal vitamin

    ★ BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN FOR PREGNANCY

    One of the best over-the-counter prenatal vitamins after giving birth is Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA.

    This prenatal is formulated by an OBGYN & Registered Dietitian, containing all the nutrients needed during and after pregnancy. Each small and easy-to-swallow pill is packed with 22 key natural nutrients to provide nutritional support for you and your breastfeeding newborn. It contains calcium, iron, folate, vitamins A, E, C, D, and B complex, iron, choline, DHA, magnesium, iodine, selenium, and zinc.

    The vegetarian formula is free of artificial colors or flavors, chemicals, preservatives, non-GMO, non-dairy, soy-free, and is gluten-free. Each of the capsules contains Vitamin D, B-12, Selenium, Zinc, DHA and Iron to help give you energy to take care of your first child.

    Adding to that, it is a women-owned company. Who better than a female would understand pregnancy!

    Click here for more info on Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA, a great pre-pregnancy pill!

    For more info on the importance of Vitamin B complex during pregnancy, check out our blog Vitamin B12 Benefits During Pregnancy.