Prenatal Vitamins: Why They Matter And What You Need To Consider

prenatal vitamins why important pregnant women iron folic acid

When finally becoming pregnant, while maintaining a healthy diet is certainly the best route, your diet might not always give you the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to carry a child. 

In fact, there may be many days during pregnancy when you do not have all the key nutrients that are needed. 

Thankfully, one of the most important tools you have if you are pregnant at the moment or hoping to conceive in the future is the use of prenatal vitamins. 

Not only can these vitamins help you fill in any gaps, but they will also contribute to the overall health of your pregnancy and your child. 

In fact, prenatal vitamins can make all the difference for a healthy pregnancy, and as such, here are the things you need to consider for optimal nutrition. 

Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important? 

Many people often wonder why it is so important to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. The main reason is that they provide the mother with additional folic acid and iron. 

Experts suggest that when taking additional folic acid, this item can help curb or prevent serious neural tube defects and abnormalities such as fetal brain and spinal cord issues. 

To ensure that the folic acid is working at its best, doctors recommend that women hoping to become pregnant begin taking their prenatal vitamins three months prior to becoming pregnant. 

In addition to folic acid, doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins are needed in order to get one’s essential level of iron support. 

When pregnant women have the appropriate levels of iron, this helps support their child’s development (given that blood is successfully produced, which helps to provide the fetus with oxygen) along with the development of the placenta.

In addition to these benefits, having the appropriate amount of iron also means that one also limits the potential of getting anemia (which entails having a low number of healthy red blood cells). 

Which Prenatal Vitamin Is Best? 

Upon becoming pregnant, many ask which prenatal vitamins are best. This might ultimately be a question for your health care provider – though you can certainly make an educated decision on your own as well. 

Experts recommend ensuring that the vitamin you are choosing has the right amount of folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. 

You might also consider picking a brand that also provides the right amount of vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as zinc and iodine. 

As well depending on your overall health, your doctor might also suggest including higher doses of certain nutrients. This, however, is entirely dependent on your situation and health and well-being. 

Overall, it is important to remember that you should veer away from taking prenatal vitamins or multivitamins that give you an excess of the vitamins and nutrients you need daily, as taking anything in excess may be harmful to your child. 

What About Other Nutrients? 

In some cases, extra nutrients may, in fact, be beneficial. For example, if you tend to eat very little fish or foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, your doctor may recommend that you take omega-3 fatty acid supplements in addition to prenatal vitamins to help with good brain development for your child. 

When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins 

Many women who are pregnant typically ask when the best time to start taking their prenatal vitamins might be. 

Ideally, if you can, you should start taking them prior to conception, especially if you are of reproductive age. 

The reason for this is because prior to even knowing you are pregnant, the baby's neural tube – which will eventually become its brain and spinal cord – is already developing in the first month of one’s pregnancy. 

Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects? 

In terms of side effects, prenatal vitamins, at times, are known to have some effects that include constipation. 

In order to prevent this problem, remember to drink plenty of fluids, add more fiber to your daily diet, and try to engage in regular physical activity (with the approval of your doctor). 

If you are experiencing constipation, you can ask your doctor to provide you with a stool softener to ease the problem. 

How Prenatal Vitamins Differ From Regular Multivitamins 

Finally, one of the most common questions pregnant mothers ask is what the key differences between prenatal vitamins and multivitamins are. 

Perhaps most obviously, prenatal vitamins are made exclusively for pregnant ladies in order for these women to have the required folic acid and iron support needed for a successful pregnancy. 

According to studies, pregnant women need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day – in part because it is difficult to get that amount in a diet alone. 

In addition to folic acid, prenatal vitamins also provide the necessary iron each day to generate extra blood. 

This will allow the body to have what it needs to support the development of a placenta as well as the child. According to doctors, pregnant women require 27 milligrams of iron each day. 

Along with extra iron and folic acid, pregnant women benefit from having a vitamin that provides them with docosahexaenoic acid (commonly referred to as DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) – both of these are considered “good fats” which help with the development of a baby’s brain and eyes. 

That said, aside from incorporating a prenatal vitamin into your daily regimen, it is also important that pregnant women maintain a healthy and balanced diet in order that the baby receives all the things they need to grow into the perfect newborn.

New Frugal Finance Blog Posts & Articles