The Benefits Of Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Now well delve a little further into the science-based evidence for prenatal vitamins. According to one study, taking them during pregnancy when smoking reduces the risk of placental abruption. While smoking during pregnancy isnt recommended, this does demonstrate that they act as a protective factor for women who dont smoke too. Placental abruption is a leading cause of maternal mortality and can lead to poor birth outcomes, which means taking them consistently leads to a safer birth.
Another study, performed on mice, demonstrates how getting the right amount of prenatal vitamins prevents oxidative stress, which is the bodys ability to address a build up of toxins. Similarly, it shows that they reduce the risk of newborn death. While these studies were performed on mice, they do suggest that attaining the right balance of prenatal Vitamin C can reduce post-natal deaths. Its worth noting that randomized studies conducted on animals are commonplace, as ethical boards rarely permit such studies on fetuses and expectant mothers.
A further trial has demonstrated how striking the proper levels of Vitamin D during your pregnancy is essential. Prenatal vitamins allow your body to produce the right levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which plays a role in kidney function, neurological development, and reducing post-natal depression.
Essential Nutrients For Your Growing Baby
Folic acid, calcium, and iron are a few of the most important vitamins and minerals for a developing baby. Folic acid, or folate, is crucial for neural tube development, which includes the fetal brain and spinal cord. Iron boosts oxygen supply in your blood and your babys blood, while calcium is important for bone growth.
Most of the time, you get enough of these essential nutrients and more through a healthy diet. But prenatal vitamins act as a backup while you’re pregnant, ensuring you and your baby are as healthy as possible.
In general, good prenatal vitamins contain:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Every womans needs are different, and the amount of each vitamin or mineral in prenatal vitamins can vary from brand to brand. Talk to Dr. Van Kirk about your health and any supplements youre taking so he can help you decide what type of prenatal vitamin is right for you.
Our team can recommend over-the-counter prenatal vitamins to fill gaps in your diet. In some cases, Dr. Van Kirk prescribes a prescription prenatal, depending on your health and any previous pregnancy complications.
How Do You Promote A Healthy Pregnancy In Tandem With A Prenatal Vitamin
First, it must be repeated that diet should be the primary source of nutrients and prioritized as such. Healthy whole foods like vegetables and fruit contain much more than just the common vitamins and minerals we all know about, explains Marlowe. They also contain powerful antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals that work synergistically to support our health, as well as fiber which aids digestion. Additionally, keeping blood sugar stable is especially important during pregnancy. Nausea can be caused by low blood sugar, so protein, whether organic animal protein or plant-based, is important, says Marlowe. Make sure you have enough, especially at night, to help balance blood sugar.
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Is Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before My Pregnancy Safe
Taking prenatal vitamins before your pregnancy is safe. According to WebMD, leading obstetricians recommend doing so to reduce the risk of miscarriage. In addition to taking your prenatal vitamins, you should treat your body as though you are already pregnant. This means quitting smoking, no more alcohol, and consuming safe levels of caffeine only.
What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your bodys nerves, muscles and immune system work. Your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your babys bones and teeth grow.
During pregnancy, you need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. You can get this amount from food or your prenatal vitamin. Good sources of vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Milk and cereal that has vitamin D added to it
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How To Choose The Best Prenatal Vitamin For You
If you have pregnancy complications or other health concerns, your doctor might recommend a prescription prenatal supplement. Otherwise, you can find over-the-counter supplements at your local pharmacy or online.
While many products are available, youll want to choose a prenatal supplement that includes all the vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy pregnancy.
Considering A Boutique Prenatal 4 Common Questions Answered
Many of the newer supplement brands bill themselves as better than whats already out therebetter ingredients, better formulations or better at providing exactly what you need during each stage of pregnancy. Its only natural that this would strike a chord, Dr. Bachmann says. Parents always want the best for their growing baby.
Its also natural to have questions about these claims. Here are some of the most common ones, answered by trusted experts.
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What Are Some Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects
Prenatal vitamin side effects may be even worse when youre pregnant than when youre not. But some people may not get any vitamin side effects at all.
Below is a list of common prenatal vitamin side effects and some of their causes:
What Are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are supplements made for pregnant women to give their bodies the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor may suggest that you take them when you begin to plan for pregnancy, as well as while youre pregnant.
Eating a healthy diet is always a wise idea — especially during pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin to help cover any nutritional gaps in your diet.
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Why Is It Important To Take Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnant women have increased nutritional demands, both because of the needs of the baby developing inside and the changes that their body is going through to accommodate the pregnancy. While most women get sufficient nutrition through a well-balanced diet, its helpful to take a multivitamin to make sure that all the nutritional requirements of the pregnancy are met.
Folic Acid Calcium Iodine And Iron
If getting pregnant is a possibility for you, you should take folic acid. It can prevent birth defects that affect the babys brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop early in pregnancy, before many women know theyre pregnant half of all pregnancies are unplanned. This is why doctors recommend that any woman who could get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
If youve had a baby with a neural tube defect you should talk with your health care provider about folic acid. Studies have shown that taking a larger dose at least one month before and during the first trimester may help if youve had a baby with this defect. But talk to your doctor about whats right for you.
Foods that have folic acid include:
Iron helps your body make more blood red cells. These blood cells carry oxygen to the baby that it needs to develop.
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What Nutrients Are Included In A Prenatal Vitamin
The nutrients provided by a prenatal vitamin vary. When developing our ranking, the Forbes Health editorial team evaluated prenatal vitamins on their inclusion of:
- Vitamin A
When comparing ingredient lists, talk to your doctor or midwife about which prenatal vitamin is a good fit for you. Generally speaking, folic acid is a key nutrient. Many prenatal vitamins contain around 800 micrograms of folic acid, and OB-GYNs typically recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms.
DHAan omega-3 fatty acidis also often recommended, as it may help with fetal brain development. Many prenatal vitamins include DHA. You can add a separate DHA supplement to your routine, too.
When To Start And Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins
You should start using a multivitamin that contains folic acid whenever you think you might conceive. Because the kind of birth defects that arise from a lack of folic acid start to form before many women even realize they are pregnant, its important to supplement this nutrient even before conception.
Other nutrient demands increase only after pregnancy starts, so it doesnt have to be a prenatal vitamin until after the pregnancy test is positive. If youre unable to tolerate the vitamin because you feel sick in the first trimester, its OK to start once youre feeling better.
You should continue to take a prenatal vitamin for the duration of breastfeeding, however long that may be. This is because lactation also increases nutritional demands, especially of calcium and iron.
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Is It Necessary To Take A Prescription Prenatal Vitamin
Prescription prenatals typically contain more folic acid than the over-the-counter varieties, says Wright. But not all moms need the extra dose. One caveat: If youve already given birth to a baby with neural tube defects, your doctor will likely start you on a prescription supplement of folic acid, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor in the department of OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine.
In general, over-the-counter prenatals are more than able to cover your nutritional bases just talk to your doctor about which formula is right for you.
One other note here: If cost is a concern to you and you have a good drug plan with your insurance company, you may actually want to ask your doctor about prescription prenatals they may actually be cheaper than OTC options.
Taking Prenatal Multivitamins In Every Trimester
Baby develops and grows differently in each trimesterand moms body changes to accommodate the pregnancy. Because your nutrient needs increase during pregnancy, youll need extra calories along the way. Heres a quick overview of what happens to mom and baby over nine months:
- First trimester: This is the most crucial time of baby’s development when the body structure and organ systems develop.
- Second trimester: Babys muscles and bones begin to develop, and all essential organs have formed.16 Mom usually needs about 340 extra calories a day during this time.
- Third trimester: Baby will grow and gain weight, as bones harden, and skin becomes thicker. DHA has been accumulating in the babys brain and eyes during the third trimester.17 Mom might need about 450 extra calories a day.
The Bottom Line
What are prenatal vitamins and minerals and what are they good for? Theyre your nutritional support when youre pregnant. Do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole nine months? Yes! They ensure that, as you face increased nutritional demands, both you and your baby get all the essential vitamins and minerals, as well as DHA, you need at every stage. Prenatal vitamins contain a special formulation for pregnant women, including folic acid, calcium and, Vitamin D, iron, iodine, DHA and choline. Once baby is born, consider taking postnatal multivitaminsespecially if youre breastfeeding.
Learn More About Vitamins for Women:
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What Are The Side Effects Of Prenatal Vitamins
Most women who take prenatal vitamins as directed by their doctor or midwife experience little or no side effects from prenatal vitamins. The iron in prenatal vitamins may cause constipation, and some women complain of nausea. You also may have diarrhea, dark stools, low appetite, and stomach upset or cramps. Talk with your OB/GYN or midwife about any side effects you have from taking prenatal vitamins.
Give You Said Nutrients In The Recommended Dose
High doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful to your baby. But those handy little prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amounts of everything talk about convenience. Yet, youve still got to be smart about your intake. While prenatal vitamins do contain the recommended dose of nutrients, if you take more than the advised amount of vitamins well, you do the math. Just stick to what the packet or your doctor says.
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Choosing Your Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamin combinations can vary depending on the nutritional focus. For example, some manufacturers will create multivitamins that have a higher amount of iron than usual, targeting women who are prone to iron-deficiency anemia.
While certain prenatal multivitamins are only available by a doctors prescription, many of them are available over the counter. Keep in mind that it is possible to jeopardize your babys health by taking inappropriate amounts of synthetic vitamins, so be sure your health care provider is aware of any supplements you are taking.
When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before conception. Folic acid is especially important. You should begin taking a folic acid supplement at least 1 month before you try to get pregnant to prevent birth defects.
Some doctors recommend that all women who could have a baby take prenatal vitamins, even if they dont plan a pregnancy.
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Best Organic Prenatal Vitamins
Many medications contain synthetic forms of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. While theyll still do the trick, its natural to seek an organic form if youre aiming for a natural way of living.
Arguably, organic prenatal vitamins feature the purest forms of their constituents. Theyre also free from synthetic colorings and coatings, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients faster.
Our recommended organic prenatal vitamins come from Actif. In addition to following the guidelines for what pregnant women need, they:
- Are the only product available with a non-GMO blend, which means none of the contents have been genetically altered.
- Theyre allergen free, making them ideal for those who are sensitive.
- They also contain probiotics, which balance your gut flora.
- Theres a three-month supply, so you only need to purchase one pack per trimester once you fall pregnant.
- All of the colorings come from natural vegetable sources.
Its also worth noting that while these prenatal vitamins are organic, the FDA approves them for use.
What Ingredients Absolutely Must Be In Your Prenatal Vitamins
The most important vitamin in your prenatal vitamin is folic acid, which you need before and during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Prenatal vitamins contain at least 400 mcg of folic acid. Folic acid is vitamin B9 and is naturally occurring in some foods such as:
Folic acid is crucial for growth, especially for the development of the spinal cord and brain. These tissues can develop in the fetus before you even know you are pregnant, and so it is recommended to start this vitamin at least a month before conceiving. Sometimes pregnancy happens unexpectedly, so some people of reproductive age may take a prenatal vitamin in the chance they do become pregnant.
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When Should You Take Prenatal Vitamins
Folic acid should be taken at least one month prior to conception.
It’s best to start taking prenatal vitamins while you’re trying to get pregnant. The birth defects prevented by folic acid happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy — before you even know you’re expecting.
Don’t worry if you didn’t take prenatal vitamins before you got pregnant. Many women haven’t in the past, and they still had healthy babies. Just start taking them as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Tips For Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins
If youre having trouble swallowing your prenatal vitamins or they are making you nauseous, there are some tips and tricks that might help. Try:
Taking your prenatal vitamin before bed and with food
Taking a different type or formulation, such as a chewable or liquid form
Choosing a flavored prenatal vitamin to avoid bad aftertastes
If you find youre still having a hard time taking your prenatal vitamin, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.
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The Potential Benefits Of Boutique Prenatal Vitamins
Still on the fence? Here are three reasons a subscription prenatal might make sense for you.
Theres no doubt its easier to get something delivered right to your door, especially if you only need to order it once in early pregnancy, says registered dietitian and nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It. But keep in mind: they tend to be more expensive.
A subscription to Goops The Mother Load packet, for example, costs $75 with a monthly subscription,or $90 for a single month. The Complete Plan from Needed comes in at $129$149 per month. For comparison, a drugstore staple like Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA Softgels cost less than $30 for a 90-day supply.
2. A Built-in Community
With most modern vitamin brands, you get more than a package of pills, gummies or powderwhich usually come in cool, eco-conscious packaging. Rituals blog offers factual and friendly coverage of everything from nutrition myths to stop believing to easy ways to take care of yourself after birth, sourced from real moms who have been there.
The Needed Changemakers, a community of womens health practitioners, host free virtual events where they discuss topics like food anxiety and breastfeeding. These supplements come with a side of social interaction!
3. Peace of Mind if You Have Food Allergies