A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need — but even if you eat a healthy diet, you might fall short on key nutrients. If you're pregnant or hoping to conceive, prenatal vitamins can help fill any gaps.
- Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, iron and calcium
- Ideally, all women who are of child bearing age should be taking prenatal vitamins.
- Prenatal vitamins help protect against many birth defects and complications.
- Women should start taking prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid 3 months before getting pregnant
- Prenatal vitamins should be taken during the entire length of pregnancy.
- Prenatal vitamins may improve the condition of hair, skin and nails
- As we age, our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin-D to its active form, which increases the risk of vitamin-D deficiency
- Strict vegetarians do not get the proper levels of vitamin-D from their daily diet
- Vitamin D keeps calcium in the blood stream and the body longer
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and minerals including folic acid, iron and calcium. Prenatal vitamins are an important part of pregnancy in addition to healthy eating and exercise.
Ideally, all women who are of child bearing age should be taking prenatal vitamins. The baby's brain and spinal cord develop early on in pregnancy; often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are available as pills, capsule chewable tablets and even liquids.
Prenatal vitamins should be taken during the entire length of pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may recommend continuing to take prenatal vitamins after the baby is born.
Generally, look for a prenatal vitamin that contains:
- Folic acid — 400 to 800 micrograms
- Calcium — 250 milligrams
- Iron — 30 milligrams
- Vitamin C — 50 milligrams
- Zinc — 15 milligrams
- Copper — 2 milligrams
- Vitamin B-6 — 2 milligrams
- Vitamin D — 400 international units
Remember, prenatal vitamins are a complement to a healthy diet — not a substitute for good nutrition. Prenatal vitamins won't necessarily meet 100 percent of your vitamin and mineral needs. In addition, your health care provider might suggest higher doses of certain nutrients depending on the circumstances. For example, if you've given birth to a baby who has a neural tube defect, your health care provider might recommend a separate supplement containing a higher dose of folic acid — such as 4 milligrams (4,000 micrograms) — before and during any subsequent pregnancies.
Some women feel queasy after taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, take your prenatal vitamin with a snack or before you go to bed at night.
In other cases, the iron in prenatal vitamins contributes to constipation. To prevent constipation:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Include more fiber in your diet
- Include physical activity in your daily routine, as long as you have your health care provider's OK
- Ask your health care provider about using a stool softener
Take care of your unborn baby.
The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)