Prenatal Vitamins

Having a healthy diet is one of the best approaches to get the minerals and vitamins your body requires but even if you have a healthy diet you might still fall short on some of the key nutrients especially if you are pregnant. It is a fact that it is hard to get every nutrients needed for you and for your baby, even if you consider your diet perfect.

It would be a great idea to take prenatal vitamins to augment any nutritional gaps in your diet.


Majority of women can profit from consuming a prenatal mineral and vitamin supplement, most especially prior to their pregnancy to make sure that you get the right measure of important nutrients once they get pregnant.

What are prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal multivitamins contain variety of many minerals and vitamins that are usually found in foods and other genuine sources that will help you and your baby obtain the essential nutrients to ensure healthy development.

The amount of minerals and vitamins in the supplements are safe and suitable for women who are trying to conceive, women who are pregnant, and women who are breastfeeding. There are also some prenatal supplements that have other additives like DHA.

Why are prenatal supplements so important before, during, and after pregnancy?

It is hard to get all the nutrients and vitamins you and your baby need even if you have a perfect diet and so it is essential to take a prenatal vitamins to make sure that you have enough of minerals and vitamins to supply for your baby. It is even more crucial for women who have diets or dietary restrictions, pregnancy complications, and health issues like the following:

Pregnancy week by week
  • Lactose intolerant or other food intolerances
  • Have a definite blood disorder
  • Previously had a gastric bypass operation
  • Expecting to have twins or multiples
  • Have a chronic diseases
  • A vegetarian
  • Smokes or using drugs prior to your pregnancy

There are also supplements that you cannot or will hardly get from foods alone like:

  • It is one of the most usual nutritional deficiencies in the whole world.
  • Vitamin B or folic acid. It is kind of weird that our body can absorb the synthetic type of folic acid than the natural kind of folic acid that can be found in food. So, even if you are getting a well balance diet, a supplement is still highly recommended to you.
  • Your prenatal vitamins might already have calcium in it but there is a strong probability that you are not getting enough.
  • Fatty acids. Take note that prenatal vitamins do not have any vital fatty acids like the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA
  • Vitamin D. According to obstetric research, about seven out of ten women in the United States are extremely low levels of vitamin D this simply explains the need for supplement.
  • It is one those that are hard to find in foods yet very crucial in securing healthy baby. You can’t even have enough of thus for yourself, thus you need to secure some extra amount for sharing.

When should you begin taking prenatal supplements?

You can start taking prenatal supplements three months ahead you start trying to conceive. But if your pregnancy is quite unplanned or surprised, it is okay to begin taking an over-the-counter folic acid at 600 micrograms as soon as you suspect that you are pregnant. You do not have to wait until your very first appointment with you r health care provider for prescription. Note that the egg begins maturing three months prior to its released and it is crucial that the essential nutrients are already present during the primitive stage.

Which vitamins and minerals are most essential why?

Remember that your needs may differ to other pregnant mothers out there, so it would be most effective to work directly with your health care provider to determine the most effective plan for you prenatal vitamins, except for the folic acid that I asked you to take before even having an appointment with your doctor. Let me give you the list of the most important nutrients to look for a prenatal supplements and the reason why you really have to get them.

  1. Folic acid. Baby’s neural tube is being formed during the first month of pregnancy, before most women discover that she is pregnant. So it is ideal to start taking folic acid before you even try to get pregnant or at least the moment that you think you are pregnant. Aside from eating foods that are rich in folate, choose to take folic acid supplement with at least 600mcg.

Getting enough of folic acid or vitamin B will reduce the baby’s risk of having neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. Folic acid can also help reduce the tendency of defects, like heart defects, cleft palate, cleft lip, and may even lessen the risk of having a preeclampsia. Research shows that folic acid can prevent problems in early fetal brain development and deformities of the spine and brain. Getting a sufficient amount of folic acid is one of the best things you can secure to ward off birth defects. Take note that it is most needed during the earliest stage of pregnancy.

  1. It is one of the most important nutrients for women to have, most especially if you are growing another set of bones, your baby’s. Women who are at the ages of 19 to 50 are required to have 1000mg of calcium per day. Aside from getting calcium in your diet from yogurt, milk, and other calcium-rich foods, you have to make sure that you still have some in your prenatal supplement. Your health care provider may ask you to take additional supplement if he or she thinks that you are not getting enough.

You need calcium to help the baby grow a strong teeth and bones; it will also help the baby develop a healthy muscles and nerves, including the heart. Calcium is most vital during your third trimester, when baby uptake is high. Always remember that you will never be able to get all calcium you need in a supplement alone, you have to eat plenty of foods that are calcium rich like kale, yogurt, and milk.

  1. Iron. You have to double the amount of iron you get to make extra blood or hemoglobin for you and for your baby. Iron helps transport oxygen from your lungs to the whole body and to your baby’s. Getting sufficient iron will prevent a condition of too low red blood cells that will make you feel exhausted, called anemia. Mothers who are anemic may cause to deliver the baby too early or too small. About 50% of pregnant women lack iron so it is very important to work with your doctor to identify how much you and your baby needs.
  1. Iodine. Studies shows that a lot of women are not getting sufficient of this important mineral that is why the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that pregnant women should take a daily supplement of iodine and use iodized salt in cooking their foods to get enough supplication of iodine. According to the American Thyroid Association, women who are pregnant need a daily intake of about 150mcg of iodine to make sure fetal thyroidal development.

Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Without the sufficient supply of iodine, there is a possibility for the baby to develop congenital hypothyroidism, stunting, neurocognitive defects. There is also a tendency of miscarriage and stillbirth.

  1. Vitamin B6. This type of vitamin B helps lower the possibility of morning sickness. Actually, the prescriptions for morning sickness drugs are a combined vitamin B6 and antihistamine.
  2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Regular prenatal vitamins do not contain omega-3 fatty acids but very important for the development of the baby’s brain, eye tissue, and nerves. It is a healthy type of fat that is found in many types of fish. It is recommended to get a two or three servings of omega-3 fatty acids per week and ask your doctor if you have to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  3. Vitamin D. Your need a fat-soluble vitamins in helping your baby develop bones and teeth. Vitamin D is essential in maintaining the levels of calcium and phosphorus in our body. If you lack vitamin D during your pregnancy your baby may be at risk of being short in vitamins at birth, it can also put the baby at risk for rickets, which can result to deformities and other fractures. It can also result of delayed physical development and having an abnormal bone growth. Studies show that lack of Vitamin D is also linked to a risk of developing preeclampsia.
  4. Zinc. This type of mineral will support the healthy cell division of your body and will help sustain your immune system.
  5. Copper. It is also necessary for your blood cells, bone, immune system, and nerves.
  6. Vitamin C. This type of vitamins can be found in many types of foods, which calling is to help your body absorb the iron and sustain your immune system as well.

Do prenatal vitamins have negative side effects?

When vitamins are taken as directed by your doctor, prenatal supplements are usually safe and are not expected to cause any serious side effects. But if in case you will have the following signs of allergic reactions, make sure that you get an immediate medical help:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue.
  • Itching
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Stomach pain or cramping
  • Blood or streaks of blood in your stools
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Rashes
  • Hives

Common side effects of prenatal vitamins may include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Seek medical advice once any of these common side effects become bothersome or if it persists.

Remember that supplements are just supplements it doesn’t work as a substitute. Meaning, a prenatal vitamin is not a replacement for unhealthy diet, it is to supplement your healthy diet. It is important to know how much you really need so as not to overdo it.

Too much is not better. Make sure to stick with what is recommended.  Work with your health care provider to make sure that you and your baby are both well taken care of.