Mothers to be who are anxious to give their future baby the best start in life and themselves a healthy pregnancy would want to know about prenatal vitamins and supplements; what do you need, how much, when do you need it and do you need supplements?
Folic Acid – This nutrient is vital, especially for the first trimester of pregnancy, and experts advise that you start to take a dosage o 400 mcg of folate even before you try to get pregnant or as soon as you decide to do so. You can have this nutrient as a supplement by itself or as part of the prenatal vitamins that you may take.
Iron and other minerals – This is another nutrient that pregnant women need more of and which may need supplementation. The iron supplement that you take for pregnancy should ideally contain certain other minerals such as zinc as well.
Calcium – Women need extra calcium while pregnant and during lactation as well, because otherwise her own stores of calcium (teeth and bones) may be affected negatively. So if you’re taking prenatal vitamins, a calcium supplement should be a part of it.
Vitamins – Vitamins B12 (6 mcg), C (70mg), D (400 IU) and E (10 mg) are also important during pregnancy and should be part of your prenatal multivitamins in this proportion.
Ideally you can have a pregnancy multivitamin that contains all of these vitamins and minerals as well as other ingredients vital for pregnancy such as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin as well.
Things to keep in mind about prenatal vitamins
Eat healthy – Firstly it is important to remember that taking your prenatal multivitamins doesn’t absolve you of the need to eat healthy during pregnancy. Nutrients are best got from food; and when they come from supplements they may not be as well absorbed.
So have a prenatal multivitamin by all means because it has all the nutrients in the proportion that pregnant women need. However, remember that eating a healthy, balanced diet is probably as important, if not more important than your prenatal supplements.
Consult your physician to find out what prenatal vitamins you actually need, in what proportion and how to address any specific deficiency that you may have (anemia and so on).
Problems you may have with your prenatal vitamins
Many women find that they are not able to tolerate their supplements very well. They can cause women to feel nauseous, experience heartburn, become constipated, and have unpleasant belches and so on.
To deal with these problems consider different forms of the supplement: pills, capsules, liquid, chewable forms and so on. Try a different brand if one brand causes the problems. And then if the problems continue take the supplement before going to bed so that nausea is not a problem.
You can also take smaller doses of your prenatal supplement, several times a day rather than take one large dose.
And if you find that you cannot remember to take your prenatal vitamins each day, set a daily reminder for yourself on your alarm or your cell phone so that you don’t keep missing doses.