Though the adage “eating for two in pregnancy” may not hold much truth, surely you need to have a nutritious diet to fulfill the growing needs of your baby. It’s the time when you can’t risk being careless of your diet. Your body may need higher amounts of certain nutrients and backing up your diet with Prenatal vitamins is the only way to ensure the healthy growth of your baby. They are important to manage the growing demands of your pregnancy.
Prenatal Vitamins are multivitamins that are exclusively made for pregnant women. They usually are a combination of various very important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to grow the baby.
Your doctor or midwife may recommend some prenatal vitamins for you to take daily. These supplements are also available over the counter, and you can order them online too. This article will help you know why prenatal Vitamins are important and how to choose the multivitamins that are best not only for you but for the baby as well.
Some of the Most Important Ingredients of Prenatal Vitamins are:
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a kind of Vitamin B that almost every cell in your body needs. It is even recommended to start taking a folic acid right when you plan pregnancy as it is most needed in the early days and helps to prevent certain birth defects like Neural Tube Defects (NTD). CDC recommends all child-bearing women should take 400m of folic acid daily.
Not only for in the early days of pregnancy, but you also need 600mg folic acid for the healthy growth of the baby. Some natural ways of getting folic acid through diet are :
- White rice
- Corn meal
- Products made from corn meal
Iron: Iron is the key mineral that is used to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Pregnant Women need twice as much iron than they need before pregnancy. Not to mention your body needs iron so that it can carry oxygen to the baby and baby needs iron too to make his blood. Some good sources of iron are
- Leafy greens
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and dry fruits
Your body absorbs iron more if you take fruits high in vitamin C with meat or vegetables. Vitamin C helps absorbing iron. Rich sources of vitamin C are grapefruit, oranges, papaya, mango, and tomatoes.
Calcium: Calcium is not only essential for your bones, but you need an abundant amount of it for building your baby’s teeth, bones, heart, and muscles. During pregnancy, your body may need as much as 1,000 mg of calcium each day. You can not get this much calcium merely from supplements. You need to take it through dietary sources as well. Some foods rich in calcium are:
- Milk and yogurt
- Calcium-fortified juices
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium; without it, your body cannon absorb calcium even if you are taking it a lot. It also helps your immune system, nerves and muscles. Your baby also needs vitamin D to help his teeth and bones grow. You need 600 IU vitamin D daily. Again this much vitamin D can be obtained through food and supplements or both. Some food rich in vitamin D are:
- Fatty fish
- Vitamin D fortified cereals or milk
Your body can make vitamin D too if exposed to sunlight. However, too much exposure to the sun can lead to aging and cancer, so it’s a better idea to get it through food and supplements.
DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a kind of good fat that your body needs for development and growth. During pregnancy, you need 200 mg of DHA for the healthy growth of the baby. Food rich in DHA are:
- Fish(low in mercury) like trout, salmon, or herring.
- DHA fortified cereals and juices.
Iodine: Iodine is another important mineral that is required for making thyroid hormones. You need Iodine for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. During pregnancy, you need 220 mg of iodine daily. Some food rich in iodine are:
- Milk and cheese
- Iodized salt
Difference Between Normal Multivitamin and Prenatal Vitamins
With many multivitamins available over the counter you might consider why Prenatal Vitamins are important and how these are different from any other multivitamins.
Prenatal Vitamins are tailored exclusively to meet the needs of pregnancy. They are formulated in the right quantity so that your baby can get all he needs and you may feel healthy and strong too. Generally, Prenatal Vitamins may have less amount of fat-soluble Vitamin A than standard multivitamins. So you can continue to take your multivitamin if your doctors approve them, but make sure they do not add more vitamin A as it can cause some birth defects in the baby.
When to Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins can be taken as early as when you are planning to get pregnant. Well, not all pregnancies are planned, we understand that, but it’s a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins before conception. During the first month of pregnancy, the baby’s neural tube develops which later becomes his spinal cord and brain. So start as early as before conception and keep taking them throughout the pregnancy, even after that during the lactation period.
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are essential for a going-to-be-mother some of the benefits are:
Back Up your diet: No matter how healthy and full of nutrition food you may be taking but prenatal fills up for those little gaps(if there are any). Your body does not always absorb all the nutrition you think you are taking, so many other things matter; some of these nutrients are so sensitive that even little heat can make them useless. Some women find it hard to eat properly in the early months of pregnancy. Prenatal Vitamins back up your diet and provide you with everything your body needs for developing the baby.
Reduce Nausea: Nausea is a common problem especially in early three months of pregnancy. Vitamin B6 can reduce nausea, and different studies support that women taking prenatal Multivitamin before and after pregnancy experience less morning sickness.
Reduce the chances of Birth Defects: Prenatal reduce the chances of birth defects. Getting enough folic acid will reduce the chance of neural tube defects in the early stage of pregnancy.
Prevents Preterm Birth: Taking prenatal vitamins can help you to avoid preterm birth which is a life risk for both mother and the baby. Taking prenatal throughout pregnancy has been linked to the low chance of preterm labor, or lower birth weight.
Types of Prenatal Vitamins
Some common types of prenatal vitamins are explained under here.
Organic and Vegan
Organic and vegan supplements are all derived from natural sources. These are available in tablet form as they won’t use the synthetic coating of capsules. Organic supplements may not taste very good as they don’t have the artificial sweet coating. These tablets can be hard to digest on your stomach too.
Prescribed Prenatal Vitamins
Your doctor may recommend you some prenatal vitamins of his choice too. But the problem is you would see your doctor probably after confirming pregnancy, and it’s a better idea to start using them even before conception if you are planning pregnancy.
Over the Counter Prenatal Vitamins
Over the counter, Prenatal Vitamins are available in shops and online. They may not be covered by your insurance, but they are not very costly too. You can choose your prenatal vitamins by carefully reading ingredients of many available options and after going through the reviews of customers. Make sure to choose the one with a reputable brand as over the counter supplements are not regulated by the American Drug Regulation Authority.
Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins
You may think Prenatals are all good and rainbow but there may be some side effects of having these vitamins daily. Not everyone may experience the side effects of prenatal vitamins. Some of us may feel nothing at all, and in some cases, women complain of:
Some pregnant women may feel prenatal vitamins aggravate their nausea. For those following tips can help
- Try to take your pills the time of the day when you are feeling least nauseated. Usually, some women feel their stomach calm down a bit in the evenings. So try to figure out what suits you best.
- Make sure you have eaten something. An empty stomach makes you feel more nauseated in the early days of pregnancy. So try to eat something before you take your pill.
- If you are constantly feeling nauseated, then consult your doctor. He may prescribe another brand that goes well with your stomach.
Many prenatal vitamins are high in iron. It may cause you to feel constipated and black stools. Some prenatal vitamins come with probiotics or other herbal ingredients that make them easy to digest. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling constipation or an upset stomach. He may recommend you prenatal Vitamins that include stool softeners. Also, add plenty of fluids in your diet like fresh juices, milk, and water. You should also take food rich in fiber for constipation like whole wheat cereals or biscuits, lots of fresh veggies, and fruits especially plum, pears, and peaches are good for constipation.
Things to look while choosing prenatal Vitamins
You should consider the following points while choosing your prenatal vitamins.
- Make sure it includes everything your body and baby need. It should meet the nutritional needs of both the mother and the baby. Key nutrients are folic acid, calcium, iron, DHA, Vitamin D, and Iodine.
- It should not have any preservatives, artificial flavors, or dyes.
- It should be in a format that you can take easily. If you can take pills, then it’s all good, if you can’t swallow them make sure you have the chewable gummies or liquid prenatal vitamins.
- Prenatal Vitamins have different formulations. Consult your doctor and choose one that meets your requirements the most. Always check the nutrient levels and other ingredients.
- You can also look for an independently verify dietary supplements. It will reassure you that your prenatal vitamins meet the high standards.
Some Good Options of Prenatal Vitamins
We have selected some Prenatal vitamins for your convenience.
Nature Made Folic Acid
These tablets contain 400 mcg of folic acid, and since there are 250 in a bottle, pregnant women will have plenty of the supplement to take. It’s important, when shopping for any prenatal vitamins, to ensure that they do not have any preservatives, added colors, artificial flavors, starch, or yeast. Nature Made is known for producing some of the highest quality supplements on the market today, which is why these are such a great option for most pregnant women.
These supplements have been verified by the USP, ensuring potency, purity, and quality. Women only need to take one pill a day, preferably with a meal, and they will want to take it with a B12 supplement, as well.
Taking Prenatal Vitamins While Pregnant
Women shouldn’t stop taking prenatal vitamins simply because they become pregnant. Taking prenatal vitamins while pregnant is a great way to make sure that if there any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet, they will not negatively affect the growing child. Growing babies need a lot of nutrients that aren’t always available from their mother’s diet, which means that it’s a good idea to continue taking them for all nine months of pregnancy.
No matter the diet or health concerns of the mom-to-be, it’s fairly easy for all women to find a prenatal vitamin that meets their health goals. Many are dairy and gluten free already, and women can easily find ones that are vegetarian and free from additives, binders, colors, and fragrances, which means that they will align with a mother’s health goals.
Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins
There are some women who struggle to take pills whole, and these women will benefit from choosing gummy vitamins that they can easily chew. These offer all of the same benefits as traditional prenatal vitamins, but they taste great and are a wonderful option for people who struggle with pills. Not only are they easy to chew, but they generally taste great, which can be really beneficial for women who struggle with morning sickness. These are perfectly safe to be taken throughout pregnancy.
Not only do these contain folic acid, but they are also loaded with a bunch of vitamins. Vitamins like A, C, D, E, B6, and B12 are all chosen specifically to support immune system health and to prevent mothers from getting sick when they are pregnant. With as much Vitamin C as you would get by eating 10 tangerines, these vitamins are a wonderful choice for women who are prone to colds and other illnesses and want to give their immune system a boost for best possible health.
Nature Made Prenatal + DHA
It’s important, when women are looking for a prenatal vitamin, that they make sure to choose one that will absorb correctly so that they can enjoy all of the minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that it has to offer. This option from Nature Made is designed to provide key minerals and nutrients and can be used before and during pregnancy. Because it is designed for both women who are trying to conceive as well as women who are pregnant, it’s a great option for a wide number of people.
The softgel is designed to be easy to swallow, which is really important for women who may struggle with morning sickness or eating certain foods while pregnant. It doesn’t have any added starch, yeast, or additional flavors, which reduces the likelihood of poor interactions. Additionally, it’s packed with iron, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids, which support the health not only of the mom-to-be, but also of her baby.
Garden of Life Raw Prenatal Multivitamins
There are some women who prefer to only eat raw foods for a myriad of health reasons, and these women can also enjoy a great prenatal vitamin thanks to Garden of Life. Made from a wide variety of nutritious and whole raw foods, these vitamins are perfect for supporting the health of the baby and the mom during pregnancy.
Not only do they help support heart and blood health with iron and vitamins E and C, but these prenatals are packed with probiotics, zinc, vitamin D, and ginger, which all help with digestion and support health GI tracks. There aren’t any fillers or binders in these prenatals, and they are dairy and gluten free as well as being vegetarian.
After the Pregnancy
Breastfeeding mothers will benefit from continuing to take prenatal vitamins on a daily basis. Even though the baby is born and no longer getting nutrients directly from the mother, these children need all of the nutrients that they can get. By taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, mothers can make sure that their children get high-quality nutrients in their diets, as these nutrients are passed to the baby through the breastmilk.
Mothers who aren’t breastfeeding can benefit from continuing to take prenatal vitamins because they will help to improve iron stores that may have been depleted during pregnancy. There are some doctors who recommend postnatal or multivitamins instead, so it’s important for new mothers to talk to their doctor.
Naturelo Post Natal Multivitamin
These vitamins are specifically designed to provide breastfeeding mothers with all of the nutrients that she needs while nursing. Because nursing mothers require more Vitamin A and iodine, these vitamins are perfect for breastfeeding mothers and mothers who have recently stopped breastfeeding.
They do not contain any gelatin, dairy, sugar, gluten, yeast, preservatives, animal products, or coloring, which means that they are easy for most women to digest without problems. To ensure that new mothers get the most benefit from these multivitamins, it’s important to take 3 once a day with a meal. By taking them with a meal, mothers can reduce the possibility of an upset stomach.
Prenatal vitamins are one of the most important things that women can take if they are thinking about trying to get pregnant or if they are already pregnant. They are designed to help improve the health of the mother as well as the baby, which is why so many doctors recommend them and why they need to be a daily supplement that women take.
After breastfeeding, mothers can stop taking all prenatal or postnatal vitamins, but may want to talk to their doctor about whether or not they would benefit from taking a multivitamin on a regular basis. Because these vitamins are so important not only for the health of the baby but also for the health of the mother, they are something that all women of childbearing age should consider taking. Even women who aren’t planning on becoming pregnant but want to give their future child the best chance at a healthy life can benefit from regularly taking folic acid in anticipation of pregnancy.