Staying healthy with vitamins
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet before, during, and after pregnancy is vital, however it can be challenging to obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it is highly recommended that women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant should take prenatal vitamins in order to maintain health as well as have a happy, healthy baby. Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated multivitamins that ensure pregnant women are able to obtain enough folic acid, iron, and calcium as well as many others vitamins and minerals.
Folic Acid: It is important to obtain enough folic acid because it can reduce the risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect. It is recommended by the Department of Health to take 400 micrograms every day while trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid can be found in natural sources such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. However, a supplement would be wise since the body does not always fully absorb vitamins and minerals.
Calcium: Calcium is essential in everyone’s diet but especially throughout one’s pregnancy. A pregnant woman needs extra calcium to prevent her from losing bone density since the mineral is crucial for bone growth in the fetus.
Iron: A woman’s body produces more blood during pregnancy putting the woman at risk for iron-deficiency anemia since the iron can be spread thin. Iron will also help the blood of the mother and baby carry oxygen.
It is important to remember that prenatal vitamins are only a supplement to enhance one’s diet and are not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.
How to Choose a Prenatal Vitamin:
Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. Ask your doctor to advise you on which brand to take. Look for brands that include the following approximations:
- Folic acid: 400 mcg
- Vitamin D: 400 IU
- Calcium: 200-300 mg
- Vitamin C: 70 mg
- Thiamine: 3 mg
- Riboflavin: 2 mg
- Niacine: 20 mg
- Vitamin B12: 6 mcg
- Vitamin E: 10 mg
- Zinc: 15 mg
- Iron: 17 mg
Remember to talk to your health care provider about the right brand for you especially if your current prenatal vitamin is causing nausea. Your doctor will be able to prescribe you a prenatal vitamin that you can better tolerate.
1. "Pregnancy and Prenatal Vitamins." WebMD - Better Information. Better Health. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins>.
Last Updated 12 May 2014.