Prenatal Vitamins – Reasons Why Prenatal Vitamins Are Must-Have for Pregnant and Nursing Women
The need for specific nutrients increases during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins provide a safe and effective way to get the extra nutrition you need.
Prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of some nutrients than a standard multivitamin. They also often include folic acid, which decreases the risk of neural tube congenital disabilities such as spina bifida.
Prevents Birth Defects
Prenatal vitamins are explicitly made for pregnant women and usually contain higher doses of certain nutrients than multivitamins. For example, many prenatal vitamins will include more folic acid (also known as folate), which helps prevent severe congenital disabilities that can affect your baby’s brain and spinal cord. They will also typically have more iron, which helps ensure you don’t become deficient in this crucial mineral. Additionally, they might have more vitamin D, which is essential for healthy thyroid function during pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women who want to get pregnant or could become pregnant take 400 mcg of folic acid daily to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. This nutrient is found in food, but the best way to ensure you’re getting enough is to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid each day, especially if you are trying to conceive or already have.
Your prenatal vitamin should also provide adequate choline levels, crucial for your baby’s neural development. You can also increase your choline intake by eating various foods, including eggs, liver, soybeans, and chicken. Many brands offer safe and effective supplements for pregnant women, such as Nature Made, which provides a prenatal multivitamin with DHA at a budget-friendly price.
Keeps You Healthy
While getting the nutrients you need from food over supplements is always best, that’s only sometimes possible for expecting moms, especially those with limited access to healthy foods or dietary restrictions (like vegetarian mothers). Prenatal vitamins are available as pills, chewable, liquids, and gummies. Some are vegan, and some are made with organic ingredients.
One of the importance of prenatal vitamins is providing the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy and nursing women. They contain folic acid (folate) and iron, two vital nutrients that help prevent congenital disabilities like spina bifida. They also include calcium and vitamin D, which support baby’s teeth and bones and yours. Some prenatal vitamins also have docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps your baby’s brain and eyes develop.
When selecting a prenatal vitamin, check the label for the recommended amount of folic acid and iron. Folic acid is essential because it can reduce your risk of neural tube congenital disabilities, which affect the fetus’s brain and spinal cord. The CDC recommends that people trying to conceive consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Iron is another essential nutrient during pregnancy because it helps your body make blood to carry oxygen for you and the baby. You need about 27 milligrams of iron per day during pregnancy.
Helps You Breastfeed
If breastfeeding, you must continue taking prenatal vitamins to supply your baby with the vital nutrients that support its growth and development. A well-balanced diet is usually insufficient to meet your baby’s nutritional needs, so many doctors recommend breastfeeding mothers supplement their diet with prenatal vitamins.
Among the best prenatal vitamins for nursing moms are these, which are made using clean, organic ingredients and follow GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards. One of the essential ingredients in these prenatal is choline, which is needed for a baby’s brain and nervous system development and healthy skin, hair, and eyes. Choline can be hard to get from food alone, and the FDA recommends that pregnant women consume 1,000 milligrams per day from fortified foods or a stand-alone choline supplement.
Another good option is this brand, which uses plant-based ingredients and a stomach-soothing blend of ginger and peppermint. It contains folic acid, iron, choline, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s and is gluten-free and dairy-free. The one downside is that they’re more expensive than some other prenatal vitamins. To avoid nausea, try not to take your prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach, and take them at night so you’re asleep when sickness might kick in.
Helps You Thrive
A woman’s diet must contain more vitamins and minerals than usual during pregnancy, especially before and during conception. A deficiency of these nutrients can lead to severe congenital disabilities in the extreme case. Prenatal vitamins are designed to meet the increased nutritional needs of pregnant women. They typically include more folic acid (folate), iron, and calcium than a standard multivitamin.
Folic acid helps prevent the severe congenital disabilities of the brain and spinal cord, called neural tube defects, that can occur early in pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from food or supplements. Iron is included in prenatal vitamins to help prevent iron deficiency or anemia. Pregnant women are at increased risk for anemia as they transition from carrying enough blood for one person to having enough for two. This is why most prenatal have more than the recommended amount of iron, usually about 17 milligrams daily.
Other common nutrients found in prenatal are vitamin C (400 milligrams) to help combat oxidative stress and vitamin D (600 international units) for healthy bone development for mom and baby. Vitamin C is also a great anti-inflammatory, which may help reduce the severity of morning sickness. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Many people have difficulty getting enough of this nutrient from their diets, so most doctors recommend taking a supplement.