Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, as they provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for a growing fetus. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. Below are some key information you need to know about prenatal vitamins.
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins consist of a variety of vitamins and minerals to help your baby get the nutrients that are essential for a healthy development. A healthy diet is yet, the best way to get the vitamins and minerals a pregnant woman needs. However, during pregnancy, one might fall short on key nutrients. These supplements help ensure that both the mother and the baby are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.
Why are prenatal vitamins important?
During pregnancy, the body’s nutritional requirements increase significantly. Prenatal vitamins help fill the nutritional gaps that may arise due to an inadequate diet or a poor nutrient absorption. In addition, these supplements may also help reduce the risk of birth defects, low birth weight and other pregnancy complications.
What vitamins and minerals are in prenatal vitamins?
The most important, and actually the most common prenatal vitamin is folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the development of the neural tube, which forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord. This vitamin helps prevent the neural tube defects. The latter might develop early in pregnancy, before the woman becomes aware of her pregnancy. This is why, doctors recommend an intake to folic acid 1 to 3 months before pregnancy, for those trying to conceive.
Additionally, other supplements like iron, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are also of utmost importance. Iron contributes to the production of red blood cells, which supply oxygen to the fetus. It is also an ally towards preventing anemia. Beyond folic acid and iron, calcium and vitamin D are necessary for the baby’s bone development, while omega-3 fatty acids aid in the baby’s brain and eye development.
How to choose the right prenatal vitamins?
When choosing prenatal vitamins, the most recommended ones should contain at least 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid, 27 milligrams of iron, 1,000 milligrams of calcium, and 600 IU of vitamin D. Your health care provider might suggest higher doses of certain nutrients depending on the circumstances. However, extra doses of vitamins should not be taken without any advice as this might be harmful to the baby.
To note that the iron in prenatal vitamins may cause constipation. In this case, a high-fiber diet and a regular water intake are recommended.
In conclusion, prenatal vitamins are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, providing the mom-to-be and the baby with the necessary nutrients to successfully complete this pregnancy journey. We, nonetheless, recommend the advice of your healthcare provider for the adequate prenatal vitamin for you and your baby’s needs.