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.
Prenatal Vitamins: What You Need To Know
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Excuse #: Im Already Green From Morning Sickness Pills Justno
Packed with all of the nutrients mentioned above, and many more, these vitamins can be huge and hard to swallownot the best if youre already on 24/7 gag alert. Do the best you can. If youre someone who was in the habit of taking separate supplementssay, a calcium chew and an iron pill and a B-complexthe daily prenatal will actually help you get everything in one shot.
And if that vitamin comes back upor never goes down in the first place? Dont stress.
We actually know that women who experience nausea and vomiting in pregnancy tend to have lower miscarriage rates, says Jennifer Lang, M.D., a Los Angelesbased ob-gyn and author of The Whole 9 Months: A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start. It seems to be encoded into our biology to avoid toxins.
And that, she says, is far more important in those early weeks than having perfect nutrition. The best bet? She says, Try to avoid the junk, so the room you do have is filled with quality nutrients.
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How To Choose A Prenatal Vitamin
Choosing which prenatal vitamin to take can feel like an overwhelming task, but the most important thing to remember is simply that you should take one. Prenatals are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy and there are lots of options to discuss with your doctor are having trouble deciding which is best for you.
Below are the recommended guidelines for key vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.
Iron For Red Blood Cells
Iron supports your bodys red blood cell productionthose cells that carry oxygen throughout your body and to your baby. Since your blood volume increases during pregnancy by 30-50%,2 your iron requirements increase, too. Iron supports placenta and fetus development and reduces the risk of anemia.
Consider this: Severe anemia can increase your risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby. Loading up on more iron-rich foods like dark meat, fortified cereals, and spinach and taking a daily prenatal vitamin with iron may help you avoid becoming anemic.
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What About Side Effects From Prenatal Vitamins
Although prenatal vitamins are good for you and your baby, they can cause some unpleasant side effects. One of the most common side effects comes from the extra iron.
Iron helps make red blood cells, which are needed to get plenty of oxygen to you and your baby. But iron also tends to cause constipation and other digestive issues, like:
- Bloating and gas
- Hard or difficult to pass bowel movements
- Dark-colored bowel movements
Vitamin A can also cause side effects in some women, such as minor hair loss and dry, itchy, or peeling skin, while vitamin E can make it easier for you to get a bruise or rash. Talk to your provider if youre worried about or have any of these side effects.
Its important to note that most women tolerate prenatal vitamins well and dont experience these side effects. To prevent constipation and other digestive discomforts while taking prenatal vitamins, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day and add more fiber to your diet to help keep you regular.
Contact us to learn more about prenatal vitamins or to schedule your prenatal visit at the Signature Womens Healthcare office nearest you. You can call either office, or book an appointment online today.
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Prenatal Vitamins: Everything You Need To Know
- Tags: Baby essentials, Getting Pregnant, Healthy Pregnancy, Pregnancy Blogs, Pregnancy Safety, Pregnant Women, Prenatal Vitamins, Staying Healthy, Women’s Health
Either you just found out you’re pregnant or youre down the road in your pregnancy, and you need some advice on your healthcare!
Staying healthy during pregnancy goes beyond just your eating and exercising habits. It comes down to the extra vitamins and supplements that you and your baby would benefit from as well.
Carrying your child is an amazing experience. However, pregnancy can be scary for many women as many questions come up about safety and good health. But dont worry, weve got your covered with everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.
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An Overview Of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins provide you with many essential vitamins and minerals that you need for good health. They also help your baby develop properly and reduce risk factors for birth defects.
Some of the common vitamins and minerals found in prenatal vitamins are also contained in a regular multivitamin. However, theyre specially formulated for the needs of an expectant mom and contain higher levels of certain vitamins, like:
Prenatal vitamins can also increase your intake of specific vitamins that you need during pregnancy.
Are There Any Extra Benefits
Some celebs swear by prenatals as the secret to their glowing skin and luscious locks because they contain biotin, one of the all-important B vitamins.
And rumors of biotins hair, nail, and skin growth powers have circulated forever many people take biotin supplements for this exact reason.
Besides biotin, though, there are some extra benefits to prenatals. If you take one with DHA, for example, youll be getting a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that may help your babys brain and eyes develop.
You may also get thyroid-regulating iodine, which can aid in your babys nervous system development.
Finally, theres some research indicating that taking prenatal vitamins may increase your chances of pregnancy.
To be clear, prenatals are not a magic cure for infertility problems and getting pregnant isnt as simple as popping a pill. But many of the nutrients included in prenatal vitamins regulate the body systems responsible for making pregnancy possible.
So taking one when done in conjunction with exercising, eating a healthy diet, and eliminating risk factors like alcohol and drugs can make it easier to get pregnant more quickly.
There are dozens of options out there, but make sure you check for a few key things before buying a prenatal vitamin:
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Other Vitamins And Minerals
Some types of prenatal vitamins may also include the following vitamins and minerals:
- Docosahexaenoic acid : This type of omega-3 fatty acid supports your babys brain and eye development.
- Iodine: This mineral supports the development of your babys brain and nervous system. While pregnant, you need 220 mcg of iodine each day.
- Choline: This nutrient is key for your babys developing brain and spinal cord. Its recommended that people who are pregnant get 450 mg a day.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin helps form healthy skin, eyes, and bones and is involved in immune function. Healthcare provider recommend that you get 770 mcg each day .
- Vitamin C: This vitamin supports healthy gums, teeth, and bones. You need 85 mg total each day .
- Vitamin D: This vitamin also helps your baby grow teeth and bones. People who are pregnant need 600 international units per day.
The optimal balance of vitamins and minerals can vary depending on your health history, diet, and nutritional needs, so talk to your healthcare provider before choosing one type of prenatal supplement over another.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
For certain vitamins and supplements, there are specific benefits. For example, folic acid supplementation helps to prevent certain birth defects in babies. Taking iron helps to prevent anemia , which may lead to fatigue and fainting. Taking DHA may improve fetal neural development and fetal growth when taken in the third trimester. Extra calcium is good for bones, and vitamin B6 may be useful for suppressing nausea in pregnancy.
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Side Effects Of Prenatal Vitamins When Pregnant
Prenatal vitamins offer many benefits, but as with many supplements, you may experience some side effects, such as nausea. Speak with your doctor if youre having digestive issues. They may suggest switching to chewable or liquid vitamins, which may be better for your more sensitive pregnant belly.
Prenatal vitamins with iron can be associated with constipation. Some ways to help combat constipation include:
- Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of water
- Eating a fiber-rich diet
- Taking a stool softener, but get a green light from your doctor first
- Stay on the move and exercise with your doctors OK
Now that you know what prenatal vitamins are and what nutrients to look for, talk with your doctor about a prenatal multivitamin thats best for you and your baby.
What Are The Consequences Of Missing Out On This Fundamental Nutrition Info
Ask your doctor which prenatal to take and youre likely to hear just take anything you can stomach. In this absence of guidance from our doctors, most of us are left to do our own researchtalking to friends, pouring through endless pregnancy websites, reading Amazon reviews, or walking the aisles of the nearest drug storea far from perfect system. Too often, this nutrition information is overwhelming, confusing, or just plain wrong.
After exhausting oneself on research, its tempting to settle for a prenatal vitamin that seems good enough. But unfortunately, this good enough product is very likely designed to meet bare minimum nutrient levels to avoid serious birth defects or fetal complications-falling far short of the comprehensive nutrition you need to be optimally well.
There is a world of difference between avoiding disease and feeling your best. The quality of your prenatal vitamin plays a big role in this.
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Other Important Prenatal Nutrients
Iron is an important vitamin to take, as well, because it helps carry oxygen through the bloodstream and helps prevent anemia. Calcium and Vitamin D will help the babys bones grow strong. Iodine helps the mothers thyroid stay healthy and properly manage her metabolism and hormones. Iodine deficiency in a child can result in birth defects, physical growth problems and, in severe circumstances, miscarriage or stillbirth. Zinc is a nutrient that supports a good immune system, makes proteins and helps with cellular growth and division.
One other vitamin that pregnant or hoping-to-be pregnant women can benefit from is Omega-3 fatty acids, which help give structure to cell membranes and foster brain development. These nutrients are often found in fish and fish products . Omega-3 fatty acids are not always found in prenatal vitamins, so if the vitamins you take do not have this, its a good idea to add this supplement to your diet.
Taking these supplements is advisable in part because when a woman is pregnant, her fetus will need nutrients to grow, and the mother may find that she is not feeling well or is lacking in proper nutrition. Therefore, taking these supplements and eating a healthy, balanced diet helps ensure that both mother and baby get their proper nutrition. Some doctors may even advise taking prenatal vitamins after a woman has given birth and is breastfeeding.
Should You Take Prenatal Vitamins With Dha
The short answer to that question is yes. DHA is safe in prenatal vitamins. We believe this omega-3 is a key nutrient needed during pregnancy. You and your developing baby will receive many benefits of DHA in prenatal vitamins.
Nutrient needs during pregnancy increase by a lot. Ultimately, its the moms job to make sure she and her baby get the necessary nutrients needed to thrive via food and prenatal vitamins. One of the many nutrients they need is DHA and isnt added in all prenatal vitamins on the market.
You may be wondering, what does DHA stand for in prenatal vitamins? DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid along with EPA . The Omega 3s, DHA and EPA, work together in the body to support fetal growth and development. DHA can be found in both food and prenatal vitamins.
DHA is an essential fat component involved in different aspects of pregnancy. Research suggests that DHA can reduce the risk of neural tube defects, preterm birth and may even help improve depressive moods from late pregnancy into postpartum, according to a 2021 article.
DHA is present in food. However, most obstetricians recommend pregnant women take prenatal vitamins with DHA and folic acid.
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Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Any Side Effects
The ingredient thats most likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects is iron, which may cause indigestion and constipation. There are different iron preparations available, so women who experience these effects with one vitamin may want to try a different vitamin that has a slower-release form of iron.
Other vitamins dont necessarily have side effects, but may be harmful if too much is ingested. Too much vitamin A can have harmful effects on the fetus, but is fine when taken as beta-carotene, a plant-based precursor thats safe. Too much iodine and fat-soluble vitamins may also be harmful.
Finally, prenatal vitamins that pack in all these nutrients may be bigsome women find them hard to swallow and they may cause gagging. Using a chewable alternative may be an option.
This advice applies to most low-risk women and pregnancies. There are certain cases , where the nutritional needs are different. These women should contact their prenatal care providers about the best regimen of nutritional supplement to use.
Jonathan Schaffir is an ob/gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and a professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
When Should You Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins
King says if youre not breastfeeding your child, its okay to switch back to a daily multivitamin after birth.
If youre breastfeeding, its encouraged to continue taking prenatal vitamins until you stop breastfeeding to keep taking in nutrients that provide benefits for both you and your baby.
But, King adds, if you choose to switch back to your daily multivitamin while breastfeeding, thats okay, too. You want to make sure youre optimizing your nutrition since youre providing those nutrients to the baby. As long as youre getting the appropriate amount of those vitamins and nutrients, thats whats most important.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Though taking prenatal vitamins will help the overall health of you and your baby, you may feel some discomfort because of them.
Taking prenatal vitamins may make you experience some nausea or queasiness, which is also an early sign of pregnancy. To help ease this, avoid taking the vitamins on an empty stomach — try taking it with food or before you go to sleep. If the nausea continues, consider speaking to your doctor about switching to another kind of vitamin.
The iron content in the prenatal vitamins may also make you feel constipated. To relieve this, eat more fruits and vegetables that will give you the fiber you need. Also try drinking water to help wahs down the extra fiber and help you digest it more quickly. You may also want to talk to your doctor about using a stool softener.
Heres What You Need To Know About Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are an important part of preparing for pregnancy and ensuring the healthy growth of the fetus. They contain many necessary vitamins and minerals that can complement the mothers diet and help both mother and baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. January 6-12 is Folic Acid Awareness Week, and since one of the primary nutrients found in prenatal vitamins is folic acid, heres what you need to know about it and the other nutrients in prenatal vitamins.
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Tips For Taking Prenatals
You may wish to take a prenatal multivitamin with food to help keep the tummy settled. Look for products that can be taken on an empty stomach, such as fermented multivitamins.
It also helps to know your habits in order to set yourself up for success. If you always take your vitamins with breakfast once a day, a one-tablet-daily prenatal may be the best choice for you. However, if you like spacing out your vitamins, other prenatal vitamins are designed so that a daily dose is spread out between multiple tablets that can be taken throughout the day.
Its best to listen to your body and notice if your prenatal is causing any queasiness, so then you can adjust from there. These days some prenatal multivitamins are even formulated with tummy-soothing ginger for morning sickness built right in, which can help if youre experiencing pregnancy-related nausea. Your healthcare professional may also have suggestions to help with any queasiness, such as spacing multi-dose vitamins throughout the day or taking with meals or water.
The key thing to remember is that adding a reliable prenatal multivitamin to your day can help maintain solid nutritional foundations. Whether youre planning to be pregnant or already expecting, these supplements offer highly tailored support for this important time in your life.