Why Do I Need Folic Acid In Pregnancy
Folic acid , plus vitamin B12, is needed to form red blood cells .
“Folic acid is important for pregnancy because it can help to prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida .”
The neural tube is a structure in the embryo that later develops into the babys brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid before you conceive and while you’re pregnant might prevent up to seven out of 10 cases of neural tube defects .
Minerals And Trace Elements
Concentrations during pregnancy
Because the expansion of red blood cell mass is proportionally less than that of plasma, some biochemical indexes for minerals and trace elements, such as hemoglobin , fall in parallel to red blood cell volume. Others, such as zinc , decline progressively during pregnancy, whereas magnesium shows no gestational dependence until late pregnancy, when it declines continuously . Phosphorus remains constant because of maternal adaptation and copper increases in pregnancy . Calcium absorption increases early in pregnancy. At the same time, the protein-bound fraction in serum usually declines gradually throughout pregnancy, whereas the free ionic concentration remains relatively constant . The homeostatic control of ionic calcium is maintained by a complex interaction of vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin.
Calcium deficiency is rare in pregnancy but appears in cases of hypoparathyroidism and severe dietary inadequacy and in individuals who are unable to eat a diet rich in dairy products . Low calcium and magnesium concentrations have been associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, although a causal effect has not been shown . Most foods contain phosphorus, and dietary deficiency is rare .
Promoting The Use Of Folic Acid Supplementation
According to Canadian survey data, 58% of women said they took a multivitamin containing folic acid or a folic acid supplement in the three months before becoming pregnant . It has been shown that the use of supplements is influenced by economic status and educational background . For instance, the use of folic acid supplements before pregnancy in Canada was lowest among women in lower-income households, among women with less than high school graduation, and among immigrant mothers . Women with unplanned pregnancies, mothers under the age of 25 and single mothers are also less likely to supplement with folic acid .
Although the majority of Canadian women take folic acid supplements in the three months before pregnancy, continued public health efforts are needed to promote awareness of the importance of folic acid supplementation for all women of childbearing age. To avoid increasing socio-economic inequalities in folic acid use, interventions should provide practical support to vulnerable groups .
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When Do I Need To Start Taking Pregnancy Vitamins
If you’re trying to conceive, start taking folic acid, or start taking it as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Your baby’s spine develops in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and initially you may not even know you’re pregnant yet, so it’s best to take folic acid as soon as you start trying for a baby to be make sure you are covered during this period. Your GP will advise you on when to start taking any other pregnancy vitamins, if it turns out you need them.
In some cases, your doctor will give you a prescription and you may be eligible for free vitamins from Healthy Start. Otherwise, you can simply buy what your GP recommends over the counter in your local pharmacy or supermarket.
Pregnancy Vitamins And Nutrients
A balanced nutritious diet is the best way to receive the necessary vitamins and nutrients you need for pregnancy, but vitamin supplements can also be beneficial. Prenatal vitamin supplements are recommended plus any additional vitamins or minerals if your doctor finds any deficiencies. Remember, supplements do not replace a healthy diet, but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. And its important to note that pregnant women should take vitamin supplements onlywith a health care providers direct recommendation.
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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:
Vitamin D In Pregnancy
You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .
It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.
Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:
- oily fish
- red meat
Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.
Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.
Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.
You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
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What Are The Most Important Nutrients In Prenatals Especially For The First Month Of Pregnancy
While its important to have a well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy, some are truly MVPs because they actually help your baby form vital organs and body systems, many of which begin developing in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
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Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects
A lot of people wonder about about prenatal vitamins side effects. Some people get nauseated or constipated from taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about changing brands or the types of vitamins youre taking.
Prenatal vitamins come in tablets or capsules, so finding the kind that works best with your body can help ease side effects. Your doctor or midwife can help you find a prenatal vitamin that will work best for your body.
What Vitamins Should I Take If I M Pregnant
Consuming a wholesome, various weight loss plan in being pregnant will allow you to get a lot of the nutritional vitamins and minerals you want. However while youre pregnant, or theres an opportunity you would possibly get pregnant, its necessary to additionally take a folic acid complement. It is advisable that you just take: 400 micrograms of folic acid each day from earlier than you are pregnant till you are 12 weeks pregnant that is to cut back the chance of issues within the childs growth within the early weeks of being pregnant. An excessive amount of vitamin a might hurt your child. At all times examine the label.
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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Recommended Folate Intake During Pregnancy
Folate requirements increase during pregnancy. There is a dramatic acceleration in cell division and red blood cell development as the uterus enlarges, the placenta develops, maternal blood volume expands, and the fetus grows . The mother also transfers folate to the fetus . Evidence supports a RDA of 600 mcg DFEs per day to maintain normal folate status during pregnancy .
Can I Take Regular Vitamins Until I Get My Prenatal Vitamins Refilled
It is fine to take a regular, over-the-counter multivitamin for a short time until you get your prescription refilled. This would not be advisable for long periods of time because prenatal vitamins have different amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that are specially formulated for pregnancy. For example, there is more iron in a prenatal vitamin than in a regular multivitamin. And, most prescription prenatals have DHA, a fatty acid thought to be important in fetal eye and brain growth, whereas many over the counter formulations do not. You can also ask your practitioner to give you some samples to help you temporarily.
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Recommended Folate Intakes For Women Of Childbearing Age
Folate requirements have been set mainly based on the amount of dietary folate equivalents Footnote 2 needed to maintain normal red blood cell concentrations . The Recommended Dietary Allowance Footnote 3 for women of childbearing age is 400 mcg DFEs . In addition to dietary folate intake from a varied diet, all women who can become pregnant should take a multivitaminFootnote 4 containing 400 mcg of folic acid every day. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects .
Which Are The Best Vitamin D Foods And Sources
Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight between March and September . If you have dark skin or always cover your skin when outside, talk to your midwife or doctor as you may not get enough.
You can find vitamin D in foods like oily fish , eggs and red meat. For more on how much and which fish it’s safe to eat during pregnancy, see here. As vitamin D is only present in a few foods, supplements can be useful .
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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.
Should We All Be Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Last week when wandering the drugstore supplement aisle, I picked up a bottle of prenatal vitamins. . After all, the New Year is ripe with health resolutions and reflection. Ill also be turning 30 in 2018. The holiday and milestone have me considering my life and goalsyou know, the serious, sentimental stuff. Having witnessed friends and family struggle to conceive, I cant help but wonder about my own fertility. My partner and I want kids, but not for the next three to five years.
Though I left without purchasing, it got me thinking: Why are these pills so important for pregnancy and what do they do, anyways? Could taking a prenatal vitamin now improve my chances of getting pregnant later? Should I swap my multivitamin for a prenatal? Are they the same thing? Also, what about vitamin quality? I try my best to steer clear of harmful ingredients like pesticides.
I consulted two womens health experts to indulge my latest supplement curiosity and suss out how to think about prenatal vitamins before pregnancy, when triying to conceive, and now when Im considering starting a family in the future.
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Monday 14 August 2017
Once you get pregnant, youre likely to be bombarded with advice from everyone you know . From what you should eat and drink, to what to expect from pregnancy and birth, or what products to buy and what to run from chances are there is a lot of well-meaning but overwhelming advice coming your way.
One thing that expecting mothers might hear about is supplements. Below, weve listed the supplements pregnant women should be taking during pregnancy and why.
Prenatal Vitamins After Pregnancy
You can continue to take prenatal vitamins after your pregnancy. After giving birth, your body needs help restoring tissues and cells, and prenatal vitamins help with just that. They also support your weakened immune system, help with the massive blood loss, and help with breastfeeding by providing enough calcium and iron.
Your doctor may recommend a separate iron supplement to boost your levels of iron. If that is the case, you will also want to increase your fiber intake or take a stool softener as iron can cause constipation.
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Six Reasons To Take Prenatal Vitamins Before You Get Pregnant
Pregnancy is a unique stage in a womans life, and her nutritional needs during this time are different than at any other time. Not only do pregnant women need enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support their own health, they also must take in enough nutrients to support their developing babies. However, the time to start taking prenatal vitamins is actually before you get pregnant, and regardless of pregnancy status, women can benefit from taking prenatal vitamins because of the following reasons:
Where To Get Pregnancy Supplements
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.
If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .
You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme.
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What About Other Nutrients
There are other nutrients that may improve the health of your pregnancy. Your doctor can help you decide if you need to take supplements that include:Omega-3 fatty acids: These fats, which include DHA and EPA , come only from food sources such as fatty fish and nuts. Studies show omega-3s can lower your risk of preterm birth and of having a baby with low birth weight. If you dont eat much food thats rich in omega-3s, ask your health care provider if a supplement is right for you.
Choline: Although your body can make some choline on its own, you get most of it from food. Rich sources include beef, pork, chicken, fish, and eggs. Many pregnant women dont get enough choline, which the baby needs for healthy brain growth.
Other Supplements For When Youre Trying To Conceive
Eating a healthy, varied and balanced diet means you shouldnt need to take any supplements other than folic acid and vitamin D before or during your pregnancy.
However, if you cant get the right foods in your diet, you might end up short on key nutrients like iron, vitamin C and calcium. In this case, your GP might advise that you bulk out your diet with certain foods:
- Iron can be found in red meat, kidney beans, chickpeas, nuts, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereal
- Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli and potatoes
- Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, yoghurt, spinach, and fortified foods and drinks
It might also help to take supplements for these nutrients, particularly if youre finding it hard to get everything you need through your diet.
If youre taking supplements, just make sure you dont have more than the recommended daily dose, unless told otherwise by your GP:
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