You asked

In the USA pregnant women take ante natal vitamins. This is not the case in Ireland why?

It is possible to get the majority of the nutrients you need during pregnancy by having a healthy balanced diet. There are 2 exceptions however:
Folic acid – it is recommended that women take a daily supplement containing 400µg of folic acid for at least 4 weeks before pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. They should also eat a diet that contains plenty of folate-rich foods such as fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, and foods fortified with folic acid such as certain breakfast cereals and milks. Folic acid is important for preventing Neural Tube Defects such as Spina Bifida.
Vitamin D – it is recommended that pregnant women take a daily supplement containing 5µg vitamin D. Vitamin D can be produced on the skin via the action of UVB rays from sunlight on the skin. However, as Ireland is a country of lower latitude, we do not receive the vitamin D we need from the sun. There are few dietary sources of vitamin D including oily fish (e.g. salmon, trout, and mackerel), egg yolks, and foods fortified with vitamin D such as milks and breakfast cereals. These foods should be included in the daily diet.
It is not necessary to take a multi-vitamin if you have a balance d diet. If you feel your diet is lacking in certain foods and nutrients, or if your healthcare professional specifically recommends that you take a pregnancy supplement then you should ensure that the supplement you choose is suitable for pregnant women – always check with your pharmacist.
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