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.
What Are The Benefits Of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins offer benefits for both mom and baby, including:
- Reduce risk of birth defects. Perhaps the most important reason to take a prenatal vitamin is for the folic acid it contains. Studies show that getting enough folic acid and B12 before sperm meets egg and in the early stages of pregnancy can dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects along with congenital heart defects in your developing baby.
- Cut back on nausea. Vitamin B6 helps to reduce nausea and research has shown that women who take a daily multivitamin containing at least 10 mcg of B6 before conception and/or during the first few weeks of pregnancy experience less nausea during the first trimester.
- May reduce the risk of autism. Several studies have shown that babies of moms who regularly took prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy may be less likely to have autism spectrum disorder.
- Help prevent preterm birth. Taking a prenatal vitamin throughout pregnancy has been linked to lower risk of preterm birth. That’s perhaps especially due to the vitamin B12 they contain, since B12 deficiency is associated with lower birth weight and preterm birth.
What Is Nutrition And Why Is It Important During Pregnancy
Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need so they can function and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
When you’re pregnant, nutrition is more important than ever. You need more of many important nutrients than you did before pregnancy. Making healthy food choices every day will help you give your baby what he or she needs to develop. It will also help make sure that you and your baby gain the proper amount of weight.
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Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation Versus Iron Folic Acid Supplementation
Thirty-four studies were identified and included in the meta-analyses for MMN supplementation compared to iron with or without folic acid supplementation . Ten of these studies were conducted in the sub-Saharan Africa regionof which, two were conducted in Ghana , two in Malawi , and one each in Burkina Faso , Gambia , Guinea-Bissau , Tanzania , Zimbabwe , and Niger . From the East Asia and Pacific region, four studies were conducted in Indonesia , two in Vietnam , and two in China . Eight studies were from the South Asia regionof which, five were from Bangladesh , two were conducted in Nepal , and two in Pakistan . Within Latin America and the Caribbean, two studies were conducted in Peru , and one in Mexico . Three studies were conducted in Iran, in the Middle East and North Africa .
Compared to iron supplementation with or without folic acid, MMN supplementation demonstrated no impact on maternal mortality perinatal mortality maternal anemia and iron deficiency anemia . However, MMN supplementation showed a 15% reduction in the risk of delivering a low birthweight baby when compared to iron with or without folic acid . A post-hoc analysis revealed a greater reduction in the risk of LBW in studies whose MMN formulation contained > 4 micronutrients, compared to studies whose MMN supplement contained only 3 or 4 components . For a description of the subgroup analyses for these primary outcomes, see Subgroup Analyses for MMN vs. IFA supplementation.
When Do I Need To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.
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Vegetarian Vegan And Special Diets In Pregnancy
A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should provide enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy.
But you might find it more difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12.
Talk to a midwife or doctor about how to make sure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients.
If you’re vegan or you follow a restricted diet because of a food intolerance or for religious reasons, talk to a midwife or GP.
Ask to be referred to a dietitian for advice on how to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.
Find out more about healthy eating if you’re pregnant and vegetarian or vegan.
Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects
Some prenatal vitamins can cause nausea in an already nauseated pregnant woman. If that happens to you, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin that you dont have to swallow whole. Options include:
The iron in prenatal vitamins may also make you constipated. If youre constipated it can help to:
- Eat a high-fiber diet
- Exercise if your doctor says its safe for you
- Take a stool softener with your doctors OK
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How To Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
A nutritious diet plays a central role of course: as the old maxim goes, you will be eating for two throughout those nine months, so make sure you eat well. But a perfect diet isnt always easy. It takes time and carefully planned shopping lists and recipes. Supplements can be a great way to ensure that no corners are cut and your baby has or babies have! all the nutrients they will need to grow and be healthy.
Log onto your favourite health retailer or visit your local health food shop and you will find pregnancy supplements specifically formulated for customers who are expecting. These are called prenatal vitamins. As you might expect, these provide a good supply of the most vitamins and minerals for pregnancy. It can be beneficial to take these even if youre not actually pregnant yet but only planning to be in the family way sometime soon.
The right balance for you will depend to some degree on your current lifestyle. For example, if you are vegetarian or vegan it may be a good idea to take extra vitamin B12 because this particular nutrient is only found in animal products. Similarly, specialist supplements may be required if you have allergies and have to avoid certain foods altogether. Consult your nutritionist or doctor for guidance.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins And Why Are They So Beneficial
In an ideal world, a pregnant mother would get all of her nutrients from food. But as Sakara cofounder Danielle DuBoise, who developed the wellness brands new The Foundation: Prenatal while pregnant, underlines, thats not realistic. No one eats perfectly 100% of the time, says DuBoise, citing research that the average American is lacking essential nutrients in their daily diet. So for most people, supplementation is critical.
According to Manhattan-based nutritionist , prenatal supplements can fill in any nutrient gaps caused by our modern, hectic lifestyles, or particular tastes, which result in consuming less than an adequate amount of the nutrients we need on a daily basis. Think of it as an insurance policy that youre getting enough of the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy, for baby and mom alike, she says. Similarly, Shepherd encourages her expectant patients to consider taking a prenatal vitamin as building up a reserve. Because the baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from mama, its easy to become deficient in vitamins she explains. A well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy will help mom provide the nutrients needed, as well as help the baby do things, such as form vital organs and body systems.
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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.
Which Vitamins Should I Take In Pregnancy
When youre pregnant, its recommended that you take additional vitamin D and folic acid, and avoid taking vitamin A . Aim for 400mg of folic acid and 10mcg of vitamin D from your supplements . For more on pregnancy supplements and nutrition if you’re vegan or vegetarian, see our article about what to eat during pregnancy.
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Which Nutrients Impact Prenatal Development Most In A Prenatal Vitamin
Four micronutrients are critically important to prenatal development. The first is folic acid because it supports your baby’s brain and spinal cord development and prevents neural tube defects in your developing baby.
Calcium is essential during pregnancy because, just like you, your baby needs calcium to grow strong bones and teeth. If you aren’t getting enough calcium, your growing baby will take it directly from your bones, putting you at risk for osteoporosis later in life.
Iron ensures proper blood oxygenation and that your blood is supplying your baby with all the oxygen he or she needs to grow healthy and strong. Iron can also prevent you from developing anemia, which will make you feel even more fatigued than you already do!
Iodine is another essential nutrient for prenatal development that helps develop your baby’s brain and nervous system and regulates your baby’s metabolism.
Talk To Your Health Care Provider Before Starting Prenatal Vitamins
If youre standing in the supplements aisle of your pharmacy or health food store, you may be overwhelmed with your options.
There are various prenatal vitamins to choose from, but its important to review your prenatal supplement choices with your health care provider to ensure there isnt too much or too little of something your body may or may not need, said Christina Valentine, MD, medical director of the perinatal nutrition program and neonatologist with Banner University Medical Center Tucson.
Your provider will review your health history, diet or bloodwork to determine what additional vitamins or minerals to supplement with. Its also important to eat a well-balanced diet to make sure youre getting all the good stuff your body and baby need.
Women who are vegetarians should also consult with a registered dietitian to ensure complete protein, folic acid, iron, B12 and DHA are adequate, Dr. Valentine noted.
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Why Prenatal Vitamins Are Important
During your pregnancy, your bodys nutritional requirements are different than at other times, and prenatal vitamins are designed for the specific needs of pregnant women. For example, prenatal vitamins have more iron, calcium, and folic acid than regular multivitamins. Folic acid, in particular, is an important part of any diet, but it is imperative for the pregnant woman. Folic acid is proven to be a crucial factor in preventing neural tube birth defects, which is why it is recommended that all women of child bearing age take a folic acid supplement, and also why pregnant women need to take more than the general population.
What Supplements Do I Need In Pregnancy
A healthy, balanced diet will give you most of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy. Folic acid and vitamin D are so important for your baby, that you should take supplements to make sure you are getting enough.
There is no need to take any other vitamin and mineral supplements unless your GP prescribes them. Some women chose to take a pregnancy multivitamin, which is fine if you choose to do so.
Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A, as too much could harm your baby.
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Vitamins Are Important Postpartum As Well
While there are clear benefits for taking a prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy, there is also significant evidence that prenatal or postnatal vitamins may help even after delivery with things like improving the nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers, preventing anemia and calcium deficiencies and enhanced energy and better mood regulation.
Some women, such as those with a vegetarian or vegan diet, may not get adequate nutrients through diet alone and may be at greater risk for deficiencies.
Most health care providers recommend taking a prenatal vitamin as long as you are breastfeeding to ensure your baby continues to get sufficient nutrients like A,D and B vitamins, DHA and iodine, Dr. Valentine said. If not breastfeeding, then the general recommendation is to continue taking them a minimum of 6-8 weeks postpartum while your body is healing.
Talk to your health care provider about whether youd benefit from taking prenatal or postnatal vitamins after delivery.
How Are Prenatal Vitamins Different From Other Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins contain more folic acid than regular vitamins. Folic acid is typically found in dark, leafy greens and reduces the risk of prenatal development disorders of the brain or spinal cord. The most common malformations from a lack of folic acid are neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Prenatal vitamins contain more iron than regular vitamins, although you can also find prenatal vitamins without added iron if you notice increased nausea or constipation. If you’re already dealing with these unpleasant symptoms during early pregnancy, your OB may recommend an iron-free vitamin.
Studies show that your blood volume increases by an incredible 50% during pregnancy, so your body needs more iron than ever to make that blood. An iron supplement will help prevent anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells that may cause you to feel dizzy, tired, and weak.
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Which Foods Are High In Folic Acid
You can get folic acid in broccoli, peas, kale, brussel sprouts, oranges and brown rice . Its also added to some breakfast cereals.
Watch out for folic acid being lost when you cook vegetables. Boil for as little time as possible or steam or microwave instead . For more about what to eat and what not to eat when you’re pregnant, see here.
Essential Vitamins And Minerals In Pregnancy
Good nutrition in pregnancy is vital for the healthy growth and development of your baby. You need to consume enough nutrients to meet your baby’s needs, as well as your own.
- folate helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida when taken at least 1 month before conception and throughout the first 3 months of pregnancy
- iodine is needed for brain and nervous system development
- iron helps prevent anaemia in the mother, as well as low birth weight in the baby
Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are also particularly important since they support the development of the baby’s nervous system and skeleton . Adequate vitamin C intake also helps improve the adsorption of iron from your diet.
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Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal Chewable
This supplement from Seeking Health is gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, egg-free, and vegetarian, so its a great option for people with food allergies. Additionally it offers all the recommended nutrients for pregnant and lactating people, including a unique blend of amino acids. With ginger in the mix, Seeking Health aims to make this supplement easy on the stomach.
Always check with your doctor before beginning any supplement.
The Best Pregnancy Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. The food and nutrients that you eat directly provide your baby with the means for them to grow and thrive. Our nutritionists explain the most important nutrients to gain in your diet and the best foods during pregnancy for you and your baby.
Vitamin D Supplementation Versus Placebo
Eleven studies were included in the meta-analyses for vitamin D supplementation compared to placebo or no vitamin D . More than half of the studies were conducted in South Asiaof which, two were in Bangladesh , two in Pakistan , and two in India . The other half of the studies were conducted in the Middle East and North Africa regionall of which were in Iran . Six studies provided vitamin D supplementation until the end of pregnancy , while three studies specifically stated that supplementation was provided for eight weeks , nine weeks , and 10 weeks from the time of enrollment, respectively.
Findings showed that vitamin D supplementation may have reduced the risk of preterm births by 36% , though the upper limit of the confidence interval just crossed the line of no effect . It was noted that studies that strictly gave vitamin D showed a greater reduction in preterm birth risk , compared to studies that provided additional supplements such as iron and folic acid .
Forest plot for comparison vitamin D supplementation versus placebo/no vitamin D on the risk of preterm births.
Vitamin D supplementation made no difference on the risk of infants born SGA , the risk of having a Caesarean section as a mode of delivery , or maternal serum/plasma calcium concentrations , but did significantly increase the vitamin D concentrations in pregnant mothers .
No subgroup analysis was conducted for this comparison as no primary outcomes were reported for this comparison.