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Which Prenatal Vitamins Should I Take

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Prenatal Vitamins

How long should I be taking a prenatal vitamin?

Side effects from prenatals are generally due to excessive amounts of certain vitamins, or irritation to the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Iron is a mineral that can specifically cause some gastrointestinal irritation. It can result in constipation, diarrhea and dark stools.
  • Nausea and vomiting can sometimes be a side effect of prenatal vitamins. This may be exacerbated by morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy. There are many underlying reasons for nausea, one of which may be that there is excess of a vitamin or mineral.
  • Stomach cramps.

These side effects are generally mild and you should consult your doctor if these become irritating or if you have any concerns at all.

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Can You Take A Prenatal If You Arent Pregnant

If youre not pregnant, there are a few things to consider before taking a prenatal vitamin for hair growth.

The main concern with taking a prenatal when you arent pregnant is iron toxicity. Nonpregnant women need 18 milligrams of iron per day, compared to pregnant women who need 27 milligrams.

Taking too much iron daily over a long period of time can lead to symptoms such as:

However, some prenatals dont contain any iron at all. In short, your best bet is to investigate the label thoroughly if you decide you want to take a prenatal.

Calcium is another nutrient of concern when taking a prenatal outside of pregnancy. In the long run, getting more calcium than your body requires could contribute to kidney issues.

Do I Need To Take A Prenatal Vitamin

If youre pregnant, definitely. Pregnancy puts a lot of demands on your body, including increased needs of certain vitamins and minerals. Prenatals are specifically designed with this in mind, and may even help to reduce your babys risk of developmental issues for a fetus or health concerns.

Additionally, prenatals are perf for pre- and post-pregnancy support.

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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.

Remind Me What Does My Baby Need

Can Prenatal Vitamins Make You Gain Weight?

In summary the research overwhelmingly suggests that you should be taking a prenatal vitamin when trying to conceive, as well as during pregnancy and lactation.

Take a look at this inforgraphic for what you would have to eat in order to get the same amount of nutrients as a prenatal vitamin:

Embed the What Would You Have to Eat infographic on your site :

To help you understand mineral rich foods as an alternative to prenatal vitamins, take a look at the following infographic:

Embed the Mineral Rich Foods infographic on your site :

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Should You Be Taking A Prenatal Vitamin When Ttc

If youre actively trying to conceive, its a good idea to do all you can to take good care of your body and stay as healthy as can be. Also a good idea? Taking a daily vitamin with the nutrients youll need during pregnancy as a means of being extra prepared for when you do get pregnant. But if youre not yet pregnant, you might be wondering if you need to take an actual prenatal vitamin in advance or if you can stick with a regular multivitamin for now.

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.

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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 .

What Happens If You Dont Take Prenatal Vitamins

Should I take prenatal vitamins even if I’m not pregnant?

Taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy can help prevent miscarriages, defects, and preterm labor. If youre not taking prenatal vitamins, neural tube defects can appear:

  • Anencephaly: This occurs when the babys skull and brain doesnt form correctly. Babies that are born with anencephaly dont survive.
  • Spina bifida: This occurs when the spine does not form correctly and the baby may have physical disabilities.

Now that we have addressed one of the most asked questions, What happens if you dont take prenatal vitamins?, we can move on to the next section: When to take prenatal vitamins.

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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.

What Are The Most Important Nutrients In A Prenatal Vitamin

You always want to eat a well-balanced diet. During pregnancy, some vitamins and minerals stand out. They play a vital role in your babys development.

According to the AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these are some of the most important:

Folic Acid. Recommended daily amount : 600 micrograms.

Folic acid, a form of folate, is essential to spine and brain growth and the prevention of neural tube defects. The neural tube becomes your babys spine and brain. Without enough folic acid, the neural tube does not develop correctly. Neural tube defects can cause spina bifida or anencephaly .

You also need folic acid to support the growth of the placenta.

Iron. RDA: 27 milligrams.

You need plenty of iron when pregnant. It supports red blood cells, which you need to deliver oxygen to your baby. Your doctor will likely test your iron levels. If you show signs of low iron , you may need to take an additional iron supplement with your prenatal vitamins.

Iodine. RDA: 220 micrograms.

Your baby needs iodine for healthy brain development. The best food sources are seafood, although those can pose a challenge as many contain dangerous heavy metals. Eggs and iodized sea salt may provide some, but your prenatal vitamin helps you get everything you need.

Choline. RDA: 250 milligrams.

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How Are Prenatal Vitamins Different From Traditional Multivitamins

Lots of different prenatal vitamin types are available on the market. While theres not a specific formulation for all prenatal vitamins, youll likely find that prenatal vitamins contain at least these key nutrients:

Calcium. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant and adult women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Prenatal vitamins typically have between 200 and 300 mg of calcium. This contributes to a womans calcium requirements but doesnt account for all of her daily calcium needs. Calcium is important for all women because it keeps their bones strong.

Folic acid. Taking in enough folic acid is linked with reducing neural tube defects like spina bifida. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women take in 600 micrograms of folic acid every day from all sources. Since it may be difficult to get this much folic acid from foods alone, a supplement is recommended.

Foods that have folic acid include beans, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, and broccoli. Many fortified foods including cereal, bread, and pasta have folate too.

Iron. This mineral is necessary to create new red blood cells in the body. Because a woman increases her blood volume during pregnancy, iron is a must-have. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women need 27 mg of iron a day. This is 8 mg more than women who arent pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins often contain other vitamins and minerals. These could include:

Should All Pregnant Women Take Prenatal Vitamins

Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins If Not Pregnant

Proper nutrition is important for your babys health, and your baby depends on you for all of his or her nutritional needs, which includes important vitamins, supplements, and minerals that are necessary for embryonic and fetal development. Ideally, if you eat a healthy diet it should provide all of your growing babys nutritional needs however, doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins if you are planning to conceive or are already pregnant, for your babys health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends multivitamin supplements for pregnant women who do not consume an adequate diet. However, your doctor or midwife may still recommend taking them unless your doctor refers you to a nutritionist for a nutritional assessment.

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Why Take Them Before Youre Even Pregnant

Heres the deal: Pregnancy takes a lot of you. Your cute little fetus is actually a major drain on your bodys natural resources, which is why you spend so much time in those 9 months feeling nauseated, exhausted, achy, crampy, moody, weepy, and forgetful.

Your baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from you, so its easy to become deficient in important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Making sure your body has what it needs to nourish both of you is much easier if you get started before baby is in the picture.

Think of it like building up a reserve: If you have more than enough of the vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive, then you can afford to share those vitamins and nutrients with your baby as they grow.

A Choice That Paid Off

My first 2 pregnancies were a mess. I was nauseous, weak, and pretty much miserable from the moment of conception until the end.

My memory of carrying both of my daughters is plagued with exhaustion, an inability to sleep, and the worst nausea that you can imagine the kind where you pull over on the side of the road to vomit.

No one deserves that.

When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I knew I needed all the help I could get to keep my energy up. I had two kids and a part-time job that wasnt about to slow down anytime soon.

As soon as I saw that second line on the pregnancy test, I went straight to researching ways to keep my energy up. Of course, there were plenty of suggestions that just did not apply to me going to bed early doesnt work when you work and have 2 preschoolers.

The best advice I found? Make your health the top priority.

I knew I needed to invest in my health first in order to meet all of my responsibilities, and the first choice I had to make was which prenatal vitamin I was going to take.

With all that in mind, I decided to give Ritual a shot.

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Optimizing Dietary Folate Intake

Following a healthy eating pattern and choosing foods that are rich in nutrients helps women meet their requirement for folate and other nutrients. To promote adequate dietary folate intake:

  • Encourage women to use Canada’s Food Guide. It describes a healthy eating pattern that is rich in dietary folate. Following Canada’s Food Guide will also help women meet their needs for other nutrients and can help them achieve overall health.
  • Promote use of tools such as My Food Guide Servings Tracker. This can help women keep track of the amount and type of food they eat each day and compare their intake to Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Encourage women to include grain products fortified with folic acid each day, such as enriched bread or enriched pastaFootnote 11. They can make informed choices, by looking for the term ‘folic acid’ in the ingredient list.
  • Encourage women to have legumes, such as beans or lentils, often and eat at least one dark green vegetable, such as peas or romaine lettuce, each day.
  • Refer women to a Registered Dietitian if they have a significantly restricted food intake. This can happen when women exclude an entire food group or have severe nausea or vomiting. These women can benefit from comprehensive nutritional assessment and counselling.
  • Refer nutritionally at-risk women to services or programs that can help. The Canada Prenatal Nutrition ProgramFootnote 12 .Website provides contact information for programs and services for vulnerable pregnant women.

Best Prenatal Vitamin For Acne Breakouts: Nordic Naturals Prenatal Dha

Should I take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, and what foods should I eat?

Nordic Naturals makes an excellent prenatal vitamin that is perfect for anyone who does not like eating seafood on a regular basis. Most people in the United States are definicent in DHA and should be taking a fish oil supplement to ensure optimal skin, joint, and brain health.

DHA is one of the three primary essential omega-3 fatty acids along with with alpha-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are anit-inflammatory, which is why supplementing with fish oil is a great natural remedy for acne.

DHA can be found primarily in seafood however, during pregnancy, it becomes even more paramount for a babys healthy cognitive function and visual development because they need an increased amount to thrive inside moms womb!

Therefore, pregnant mothers should have a baseline intake of 600 mcg per day to ensure the healthy development of their fetus, which is why this supplement is so good.

Because of this Nordic Naturals is one of my most frequent recommendations to expectant mothers. The DHA is the supplement is naturally sourced and is great for helping children develop core brain function and eyesight early without any risk or side effects like those associated with fish oils supplements made from other types of seafood!


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Continued Supplementation Throughout Pregnancy

Canadian survey data show that it is difficult for most women of childbearing age to consume enough folate from diet alone to meet their pregnancy needs. Over 75% of non-pregnant/non-breastfeeding women aged 19 – 50 have intakes less than the Estimated Average Requirement Footnote 10 for pregnancy, 520 mcg of DFEs . To meet folate needs during pregnancy, women should consume a varied diet that provides dietary folate , and continue taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid throughout their pregnancy.

Table I This table charts the sources of dietary folate from different food.


Where Do We Even Begin

When a woman is faced with the task of choosing a prenatal, this decision can feel like choosing a cereal in a grocery aisle of 100 boxes. The U.S FDA categorizes vitamins as dietary supplements, so the regulation of vitamins is not as strict as what prescription medications go through in the country. For example, the supplement industry has no standardized serving sizes or nutrient dosing to ensure safety.

Simply, the FDA does not have the resources for inspection and supervision of the supplement world. Consumers should be aware that manufacturers dont even need approval from the FDA to sell their supplements before they are marketed unless it contains a new product ingredient that has not been marketed before 1994. All that might sound a little unnerving, but the industry cant go completely rogue on us!

Manufacturers are expected to follow the 2007 Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure supplement identity, purity, quality, strength, and composition. It is also up to the manufacturer to notify the FDA if there have been any consumer complaints or side effects with any supplement.

All this makes it that much tougher to choose a prenatal.

I do believe that preconception & prenatal care should be a shared responsibility between healthcare providers and their patients. I strongly recommend that all supplements be approved by your reproductive endocrinologist and/or obstetrician/gynecologist, or nutritionist/dietitian prior to consumption. Do not rely on internet reviews.

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