You should be prepared to do the best for your baby, even before it is conceived. That is why you need to be informed what prenatal vitamins you are going to need during pregnancy. Taking supplements will give you more security that your body will have enough amounts of essential vitamins and elements for the baby. Consult with your doctor before and after conceiving. The health specialist will be able to best explain to you the importance of prenatal vitamins and to help you understand what are prenatal vitamins and when to start taking prenatal vitamins.
In general, they will make your body stronger and able to cope with the challenges of pregnancy. Taking vitamins as supplements also has the following advantages:
Because of the large choice of vitamins for pregnant women on the market, you should know how to choose the best ones. Consult with your doctor who will prescribe you the suitable prenatal pills according to your individual needs.
Here is a list of six nutrients which play a key role in your baby’s growth and development during the pregnancy:
Folic acid is a kind of vitamin B which is used by every cell in your body for its normal healthy growth and development. You should take it before and during early pregnancy in order to prevent birth defects of the brain and the spine of the baby, known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Some researchers suggest also that this vitamin could help prevent heart defects and birth defects in your baby’s mouth known as cleft lip and palate.
In the months of pregnancy, you should take 600 micrograms of folic acid daily. When choosing the best prenatal vitamins before pregnancy, have in mind that before conceiving, it is a good idea to take a vitamin supplement which contains 400 micrograms of folic acid. Food could also supply you with some amounts of folic acid. You can find it in some kinds of flour, bread, cereals and pastas where it has been added to them. You will read “fortified” or “enriched” on the labels of such products. Folic acid can also be found in some fruits and vegetables. Its natural condition in food is called folate. You can supply your body with folic acid through the following foods:
Iron helps the body produce hemoglobin. This is a protein which helps the transportation of the oxygen from your lungs to the other parts and organs of your body. When you are pregnant, your need for iron increases two times. The reason is that your body now needs this iron to make more blood which to carries the oxygen to your baby.
Your daily needs of iron during pregnancy are 27 milligrams of iron each day. You will find this amount in most prenatal pills. Food sources which are rich in iron include:
There are two kinds of iron which can be found in different foods. The so-called heme iron you can get from animal products such as meat, poultry and fish. Non-heme iron can be found in non-animal products - beans, fruits, vegetables, cereals and nuts. The body absorbs better the heme iron, so it is not a good idea to ignore animal products during pregnancy even if you are a vegetarian.
Also, the organism will absorb better the non-heme iron when you have fruits and veggies together with meat, poultry and fish. It is also a good idea to combine all products which contain plenty of iron with foods which are rich in vitamin C. You will find this vitamin in tropical fruits - grapefruit, mango, papaya, orange, lemon and others as well as in cantaloupe, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, and broccoli.
If your body does not get enough iron during pregnancy, you will become anemic and will experience the following problems:
Since anemia during pregnancy might be a serious health problem and cause damage to your baby, contact your doctor if you notice any signs that you have become anemic – exhaustion, paleness, problems breathing and others.
This mineral will help the bones, muscles, teeth, heart, and nerves of your baby develop normally. In the months of pregnancy, you will need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. In order to receive this amount of the essential mineral, you should take your vitamins for pregnant women. Do not also forget to eat foods which are rich in calcium. Some great sources of calcium are:
If your body does not receive enough calcium during pregnancy, your organism will take it from your bones and will give it to your baby. As a result, you might suffer from osteoporosis later in your life. This condition means that your bones will become thinner and might break easily. Consult with your doctor how often your calcium levels and bone density need to be tested.
This vitamin helps the absorption of calcium from your body. It also has an important role in helping the nerves, muscles and immune system work. The baby uses vitamin D in the development of bones and teeth.
Pregnant women are in need of 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D as a daily dose. Your body needs to be supplied with it through food and prenatal vitamins. You will find vitamin D in foods such as fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. An important source of vitamin D is the contact of the skin with sunlight. Have a lot of walks outside but be sure to protect your skin with a sun lotion. After giving birth, sunlight will be a great source of Vitamin D for the baby, too.
Docosahexaenoic acid – DHA is also known as omega-3 fatty acid. It is essential during pregnancy since it helps the baby’s growth and development. When pregnant, you will need a daily dose of 200 milligrams of DHA. Have in mind that not all prenatal pills contain DHA, so you might need to take an additional DHA supplement. Foods which are quality sources of DHA are fish, low in mercury such as trout, herring, salmon, anchovies and halibut.
It helps the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine during pregnancy will help the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. When you are pregnant, you will need 220 micrograms of iodine daily every day. Just like Omegs-3, iodine cannot be found in all prenatal vitamins. You can supply your body with iodine by eating foods which are rich in it such as:
Your body and the baby will need the most the following vitamins and elements daily during pregnancy:
Folic acid: 600 mg. The neural tube of the baby will be formed in the first month of pregnancy. This is usually before most women realize know that they are pregnant . This is the reason why you have to start taking your prenatal vitamins you even start trying to conceive. As an addition to eating folate-rich foods, you will need a supplement with at least 600 mcg of folic acid, also known as vitamin B9. If your family history shows a higher risk of neural tube defects, it is recommended to take up to 10 times that amount. Consult with your doctor what amount of folic acid you are going to need during pregnancy.
Calcium: 150 mg. This is a crucial nutrient for pregnant women. Be sure to get plenty of calcium with your diet which has to contain milk, yogurt or other foods which are rich in calcium. If your health specialist decides that this is necessary, you might also take additional doses of calcium through supplements.
Iron: 27mg. The baby’s cells will be built with its help. That is why your iron need will be increased during pregnancy. Your doctor will have your iron levels in order to prevent anemia during pregnancy or treat it on time if you have it.
Iodine: 150 mcg. It is essential for the thyroid and brain development of your baby. Since many women do not have enough amounts of iodine in their bodies, they are usually advised by their doctors to take a daily supplement of iodine. It is also a good idea to cook with iodized salt. The recommended total intake for pregnant women is 220 mcg per day. Consult with your doctor whether you need to take iodine supplements.
Vitamin B6: 1.9mg. It will help you relieve the morning sickness. Be sure to have it in your supplements if you have intensive sickness. Omega 3 fatty acids. You will have to take them as additional supplements since prenatal vitamins usually do not contain them. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats which can be found in many types of fish. They are considered to help the baby’s brain development. These are considered to be the most important elements which your body and your baby will need during pregnancy.
And here are some more nutrients which might be also quite useful for you: