How Can I Get Enough Folic Acid
How can women of childbearing age and especially those who are planning a pregnancy get enough folic acid every day?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food-makers to add folic acid to their enriched grain products. So you can boost your intake by eating breakfast cereals, breads, pastas, and rice that have 100% of the recommended daily folic acid allowance. Check the product’s label for this information.
But for most women, eating fortified foods isn’t enough. To reach the recommended daily level, you’ll probably need a vitamin supplement. During pregnancy, you need more of all of the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins shouldn’t replace a well-balanced diet. But taking them can give your body and your baby an added boost of vitamins and minerals. Some health care providers recommend taking a folic acid supplement in addition to a prenatal vitamin. Talk to your doctor about your daily folic acid intake. He or she might recommend a prescription supplement, an over-the-counter brand, or both.
Also talk to your doctor if you’ve already had a pregnancy that was affected by a neural tube defect or if you or your partner were affected by one yourselves. The doctor may recommend that you take a higher dose of folic acid .
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.
How We Chose The Best Prenatal Vitamins
We started with the ingredients outlined above and found prenatal supplements that contain most of the nutrients you need. From there, we checked which of these options were also tested and recommended by members of our What to Expect community, OB/GYNs or editors.
Here are our top picks.
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Best Overall: Thorne Research Basic Prenatal
If you’re looking for an excellent overall prenatal, Thorne’s Basic Prenatal is the top pick, particularly for its highly absorbable form of folate. Adequate intake of folate is known to support the healthy development of the fetuss organs and tissues. In addition, it is especially critical for the closure of the neural tube, which is the precursor to the brain and spinal cord.
Though many foods like cereal, bread, and grains are enriched with folic acid and other b vitamins, supplementation is still recommended for pregnant women, as their need for this nutrient becomes 50 percent higher.
It is recommended that women consume 600 micrograms of supplemental folic acid, in addition to the folate found in food. Thornes Basic Prenatal contains 1,000 micrograms of metabolically active folic acid283 percent of the recommended daily intake for folate. In addition, this prenatal is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and artificial flavor-free.
Thornes facility is NSF- and cGMP-compliant and they rigorously test for 760 contaminants to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient listed on their product labels.
Best For Morning Sickness: New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are common occurrences experienced by a large number of women. Ginger has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for numerous ailments, including digestive issues such as nausea.
A systematic review examined the use of ginger for the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and found that ginger significantly improved the symptoms of nausea when compared to a placebo. New Chapters Perfect Prenatal vitamin includes organic ginger in each dose to help ease nausea. This supplement is vegetarian, certified non-GMO, and gluten- and synthetic filler-free.
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What To Look For In Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins help ensure that you get the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. Look for prenatal vitamins that have: 400 micrograms of folic acid
400 IU of vitamin D
200 to 300 milligrams of calcium
70 mg of vitamin C
3 mg of thiamine
6 mcg of vitamin B12
10 mg of vitamin E
15 mg of zinc
17 mg of iron
150 micrograms of iodine In some cases, your doctor will give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin.
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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Vitamins To Take During Pregnancy
Theres a lot you can do to support your health and that of your growing baby during pregnancy. Aside from staying active, getting plenty of sleep and focusing on relaxation, following a well-balanced, diverse diet will lay a strong foundation for good overall health. But even with all the pregnancy superfoods, you can still run into nutritional gaps. And thats where prenatal vitamins come in. As a mum-to-be, its only natural to have some questions concerning prenatal supplements. But we hope we can answer them.Here, we take a look at how long you should take vitamins during pregnancy.
What Supplements Should I Take During Pregnancy
- 04 October, 2021
- 6 min read
Being pregnant can be a minefield of do’s and donts and sometimes it can feel like everyone you come across has an opinion on what you should or shouldnt be doing with your body.
So, where does this leave you and what vitamins and supplements should, and can, you take during your 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.
Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy Has Been
Vitamin D and pregnancy are important together. 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from before youre pregnant until youre 12 weeks pregnant This is to reduce the risk of problems in the babys development in the early weeks of pregnancy. If you have low vitamin D you will be advised to increase your sun exposure and take extra vitamin D during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
20201214 VITAMIN D Vitamin D status is important for everyone. 20200813 This fat-soluble vitamin is important for immune function bone health and cell division. At the same time they had a control group of 70 pregnant women who received a placebo.
Breastfeeding mums should take a vitamin D supplement as well. All pregnant women should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D each day to give your baby enough vitamin D for the first few months of life. It is also recommended that you take a.
They help promote the development of the babys teeth and bones. In fact anywhere from 40 to 98 percent of pregnant. A 2019 analysis found low levels of vitamin D in women who struggled with infertility due to.
After treatment a follow up blood test will be taken after 6 weeks to make sure your vitamin D level is normal. By booking the pregnancy on time your community midwife can advise you early on to get the full benefit of treatment. They need only be aware of one potential issue.
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Should Women Take Supplements While Pregnant
It seems there’s an endless amount of online information related to what supplements a woman should take when pregnant. As a result, searching for reliable information related to supplements during pregnancy can be difficult at best.
Here’s a Q& A with some advice on which supplements you can use and those you should avoid during your pregnancy:
Are dietary supplements OK during pregnancy?
It’s recommended that women should not use dietary and herbal supplements during pregnancy. In addition, dietary and herbal supplements should be used with caution in women of reproductive age due to the risk of taking these supplements before knowledge of pregnancy.
Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness. As a result, they may contain contaminants, like metals, pesticides, chemicals or bacteria, which may pose risks for pregnancy. Also, most supplements are not thoroughly studied, which can lead to issues related to quality standards for ingredients and strength. For example, vinpocetine an ingredient found in a number of dietary supplements, including those marketed for weight loss, enhanced memory, focus, mental acuity or increased energy is not safe during pregnancy. Other commonly used supplements that may cause harm during pregnancy include melatonin and St. John’s wort.
What about meal replacement shakes?
What supplements are OK to take?
What about vitamins during pregnancy?
Why Is Taking Vitamin A Bad For Pregnant Women
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, helps your bodys natural defence against illness, as well as your vision and your skin. When you are pregnant, do not take vitamin A supplements or supplements containing vitamin A . Too much could cause birth defects .
If you decide to take a multivitamin tablet during pregnancy, make sure the tablet doesnt contain vitamin A. You also need to avoid choosing liver or liver paté because these are very high in vitamin A . For more on foods to avoid during pregnancy, see here.
Vitamin A that your body produces from beta-carotene does not increase the risk of birth defects .
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When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
In fact, its often best to take a prenatal vitamin every day if theres a chance you could get pregnant at all, even if youre not planning for it. Thats because crucial neurological development takes place during the first month of pregnancy, when folic acid would offer the most protective benefits.
I recommend starting prenatal vitamins as soon as you start thinking of trying to conceive. Ideally three months before conception, Dr. Nwankwo says.
If youre planning on breastfeeding, Dr. Nwankwo recommends you continue to take your prenatal vitamins for a minimum of about six months, if not throughout.
If youre already pregnant and havent been taking prenatal vitamins, no need to worry! Just start as soon as you can.
Role Of Vitamin D During Pregnancy
Vitamin D is beneficial during pregnancy. Vitamin D is essential for immunological function, cell development and division, and bone health.
Vitamin D plays an essential role in calcium and phosphorus absorption. Low blood vitamin D levels cause a risk of cancer, inflammatory illness, brain disorder, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin D leads to a healthy bone structure in newborn babies.
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When Should I Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
The best time to begin taking prenatal vitamins is before you conceive. The folate in a prenatal vitamin taken before conception significantly reduces the chances of neural tube irregularities like spina bifida.
A babys neural tube, which will develop into both the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy. That could happen before you even realize youre pregnant.
If you arent already taking a daily prenatal vitamin, start taking one as soon as you find out youre expecting. Youll continue taking your prenatal vitamin every day during your pregnancy.
Your doctor might also recommend you continue to take prenatal vitamins after delivery, especially if you decide to breastfeed.
If you have pregnancy complications or other health concerns, your doctor might recommend a prescription prenatal supplement. Otherwise, over-the-counter vitamins are available at the pharmacy or online.
While there are many brands available, youll want to choose a prenatal vitamin that includes:
Most pregnant people dont get enough choline, so its important to include choline-rich foods like egg yolks in your diet or take a supplement that contains this vital nutrient.
Choline is important for your health and is essential for fetal brain development and placental function.
Some supplements also contain DHA, which is important for your babys brain tissue growth and function especially during the third trimester.
Supplements For Pregnancy: The Most Important Ones To Take
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While most people are familiar with the idea of taking a prenatal vitamin, knowing what supplements to take during pregnancy and which pregnancy supplements are best can be incredibly overwhelming.
With the rise in direct-to-consumer supplement companies and brands advertising through social media, its easy to get caught up in the marketing hype of supplements for pregnancy. While your health practitioner may have specific recommendations for you personally, more often than not women are told to just pick one when it comes to supplementing during pregnancy without any real guidelines on how to choose.
As a side note, I always recommend discussing any supplements you plan to take with your trusted provider. The recommendations I make below are general advice and may not be specific to your medical conditions or individual needs.
There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the best pregnancy supplements: 1). Ingredient quality, or what is actually included in the supplement, and 2.) Understanding your individual needs. Dont worry, well decode both below.
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Supplements That Are Safe During Pregnancy
It would be best if you told your doctor about all the supplements you are taking. The doctor will guide you about the supplement that is necessary and taken in safe amounts. The proteins you are taking should be of a reputable brand and authorized by third-party organizations. Some of the herbal supplements are as follows:
- Prenatal vitamins
Vitamins And Mineral Supplements That May Cause Problems
Vitamin A, also called retinol, helps to maintain your skin and vision. When youre pregnant, though, taking vitamin A supplements can cause birth defects. Because of this, it is important to avoid taking any supplements or multivitamins other than your prenatal vitamin, that contain extra vitamin A.
Iodine is a very important nutrient during pregnancy. It is essential for the proper development of the fetus. However, when taken in excess it can affect thyroid function. Iodine overdose may cause hyperthyroidismor hypothyroidism. Too much iodine may also affect the neurodevelopment of the child.
Herbal supplements to avoid during pregnancy
You should always clear it with your obstetrician before taking any supplements while pregnant.
Following is a list of supplements you should avoid when pregnant. Remember, this list is not exhaustive! It is important to always consult your doctor before taking a supplement, especially when pregnant.
- can have negative effects on your pregnancy.
- Saw palmetto is not safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can also interfere with your hormones.
- Yarrow may cause miscarriage.
- Yohimbe can cause seizures and heart attacks.
Alternative treatments and drugs
Foods and beverages to avoid
- King mackerel
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The Right Picks To Take You Through Your Pregnancy Journey
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. Youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
Nutrient needs are increased during pregnancy to support the growth and development of the fetus while also supporting the health of the mother. But with so many prenatal vitamins out there, how do you make the right choice? It is important to make sure prenatal supplements have been tested by third-party labs and offer maximum transparency to consumers.
A prenatal vitamin is a multivitamin that is designed with pregnancy and breastfeeding in mind. The number of vitamins and minerals in these supplements are safe and appropriate when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and postpartum while you are breastfeeding. Some specialized prenatal vitamins may also have other pregnancy-related additives, including DHA .