Prenatal vitamins are vitamins packed with nutrients in just the right doses that your body and baby need during your pregnancy. Do not take prenatal vitamins until your doctor tells you to, or until you know that you are pregnant. These vitamins are sold as prenatal vitamins because they should provide you with nutrients that your body needs to help the developing baby that you may not be getting enough of in your diet. They are specially formulated for this purpose solely. They contain high doses of various vitamins and minerals. The most important additions here are the amount of folic acid, iron and calcium that they have in them as these are often the most important nutrients for the mother to be.
Why You Need Folic Acid
While all of the nutrients in prenatal vitamins are important to the developing child, one of the most important is folic acid. This type of nutrient helps to prevent various problems from happening during pregnancy. This includes serious birth defects such as brain defects, spinal cord defects which are called neural tube. One such condition is spina bifida,, which is a term used to describe the condition in which the baby’s spine is born not closed in as it should be. Spina bifida will lead to nerve damage of these nerves and in many cases, the child will suffer from paralysis to all or parts of his body. Incontinence is also like as is mental retardation in children with spina bifida. One of the main concerns about this condition, though, is that many baby’s that have this defect develop just 28 days after they are conceived. Many women do not know that they are pregnant at this time, though. The US government has required that all flour based products now have an additional amount of folic acid added to them in an effort to protect children from this condition.
Nevertheless, any woman that is of child baring age should get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. As for prenatal vitamins, a large dose of folic acid throughout the first trimester can help to curb spina bifida and other conditions like it. You can get additional folic acid from your foods, too. For example, you can get it from green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and citrus fruits. Look for deeply colored greens as they poses the most nutrients for your body. You will notice that many of your breakfast cereals have been fortified by folic acid too. Together with your prenatal vitamins, eating a healthy diet rich in folic acid can help to lower your baby’s risks of these types of birth defects. Why You Need Calcium Calcium is important for everyone, but in pregnant women, it is essential to get an additional amount of it. Prenatal vitamins should contain significant amounts of calcium. During the baby’s development, the baby will need a rich source of calcium during the development of their bones. During this time, if the child is not able to get the calcium from its nutritional supply, it will require it from other places, such as the bone density of the mother. As you age, your body uses more and more calcium from these sources. Conditions like osteoporosis develop when the body must use the bone’s store of calcium for everyday use. In other words, without these nutrients available to the baby during their development, it could weaken the mother’s ability to keep from having weaker bones later.
You can get calcium from various sources including your prenatal vitamin. This includes dairy products and citrus, too. Talk with your doctor about the amount of calcium you should be getting in your diet specifically during your pregnancy. Your baby’s bone growth requires it!
Why You Need Iron
Many women become anemic during pregnancy. Anemia is the result of not enough iron in the blood. As your baby develops, your body’s requirement for iron rich blood also increases. Iron helps you and your baby’s blood to move oxygen throughout it. Without enough iron, your body is likely to be weakened. You may even feel very tired. Iron is found in many foods that you eat including meats, walnuts and deeply colored greens like spinach. Add these healthy nutrients to your diet.
Your doctor should be the judge of how much iron you consume because too much can be dangerous for both you and the baby. Most prenatal vitamins will have a strong source of iron at a safe level. Some doctors will require that you take additional iron supplements above and beyond that of what is in your prenatal vitamins if you are considered anemic or borderline. Doing so will protect both of you!