For the most part, a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best bet to get everything your body needs. However, during pregnancy, you may need a little extra help along the way, as you might fall short of a few essential minerals and nutrients. After all, growing a human is hard work! So, if you’re pregnant or want to conceive, prenatal vitamins can help give your body a much-needed boost and contribute to a healthy, happy pregnancy. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at prenatal vitamins, why they are important, and we’ll share a few tips on how best to take them.

WHAT’S IN MY PRENATAL VITAMIN?

When you get pregnant, ask your doctor or clinic which prenatal vitamin is best for you. If you’ve been taking one already, bring the bottle to your next appointment, and he or she can check the ingredients for you. Depending on the brand (there are so many prenatal vitamins on the market), the majority of prenatal vitamins contain these three important minerals:

  1. Folic acid: Research shows that folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly. Folic acid can also help reduce the risk of serious congenital disabilities such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
  2. Calcium: As your baby grows, your baby takes calcium from both your bones and teeth. If you lack sufficient calcium, you could lose bone density as your pregnancy progresses.
  3. Iron: Iron helps your blood deliver oxygen to your entire body, including your growing baby. It may also prevent your baby from being born prematurely or underweight. Women are also susceptible to becoming anemic during pregnancy, and a supplement containing iron will help prevent this.

HOW WILL PRENATAL VITAMINS MAKE ME FEEL?

Many people can take prenatal vitamins without a hitch. However, some moms-to-be might struggle with a few side effects, especially if they are experiencing severe bouts of nausea. If this is the case, here are a few tips to help you out:

  • If you are struggling with nausea, try taking vitamins after you’ve eaten breakfast or, better yet, after dinner and before you go to bed.
  • If you feel more nauseous after taking your vitamin, chat to your doctor about switching to another brand. Many people react badly to taking iron tablets and may need a supplement without iron or a slow-release iron capsule, tonic, or sachet.
  • If you struggle to swallow the multivitamin (these can be rather big tablets), ask about a chewable vitamin, which may be easier to stomach.
  • The iron in prenatal vitamins can make you constipated. If this affects you, try to eat more fiber-rich foods and up your water intake, which will keep you more regular.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER VITAMINS?

A prenatal vitamin includes all the vitamins and minerals a pregnant woman needs. And, taking too many vitamins or minerals may harm your baby. For example, large doses of Vitamin A may cause congenital disabilities. If you took supplements before you got pregnant, rather check with your doctor or clinic if you can carry on taking them during your pregnancy. If you’d like to take additional vitamins and minerals, there are a few to consider, but remember always check with your doctor first:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Studies have shown that omega 3’s may help your baby’s brain develop. If you don’t eat fish high in omega-3s, your doctor may recommend a supplement.
  • Vitamin B6: Research has shown that women who take a daily multivitamin containing B6 during the first few weeks of their pregnancy experience less nausea during the first trimester.
  • Vitamin B12: B12 deficiency is associated with lower birth weight and preterm birth, so check with your doctor if you might have to take a supplement.
  • Zinc: This mineral supports your immune system and healthy cell division, two things you definitely need during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C:  Helping your body absorb the iron in your prenatal vitamins, Vitamin C also supports your immune system.

It’s best to take prenatal vitamins before you conceive or as soon as you find out that you are expecting. But, don’t worry if you’re two months pregnant, and you’ve just found out and have not been taking anything. Many women have had healthy babies without taking any supplements. Prenatal vitamins are simply an easy and affordable way to give your body and baby a good dose of essential minerals and vitamins while being pregnant.

If you’d like to find out more about prenatal vitamins, talk to us at PRC Naples. At our community pregnancy clinics, we can help with all of your pregnancy needs, starting with free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to medical assessment, educational information, and unplanned pregnancy resources and support.