Prenatal vitamins provide the full range of nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Even if you eat a wide variety of foods on a regular basis, taking prenatal vitamins is a sort of insurance against deficiencies. If you smoke, take oral birth control, prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet you need prenatal vitamins.
In order to get sufficient amounts of the most important vitamins such as folic acid and other B vitamins, as well as iron and calcium, you have to eat meat, dairy, sweet water and salt water fish, fruits, grains, vegetables and legumes. It is not always possible to eat the full range of foods every week. There are also recommendations not to eat certain fish during pregnancy because they store mercury in their body, which can lead to severe brain damage for your baby.
Since you have a higher need for nutrients during pregnancy to make more blood and to fuel the growth of the baby, you should take prenatal vitamins. As soon as you are pregnant, the embryo starts taking what it needs from your body. That is a wonderful thing, as your body is made for this. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should give yourself the boost to your own health by starting to take prenatal vitamins before you are pregnant. It has been shown in studies that women who had a first child with birth defects were able to have a healthy second child by taking essential vitamins before getting pregnant a second time.
Iron is an essential building block for red blood cells. The red blood cells transport oxygen inside of your body and also to the fetus inside of you. A prenatal vitamin should provide you with about 25 mg of iron. Depending on your diet and health history, your health care provider may prescribe an additional iron supplement.
Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins during the early days of your pregnancy. In an effort to ensure that all women of childbearing age have sufficient access to folic acid, many processed foods such as breakfast cereals and pasta are fortified with it. Your prenatal vitamin supplement will give you 400mcg to 800mcg of folic acid.
Because most vitamins and minerals need each other to get utilized fully by your body, prenatal vitamins have a balance of essential vitamins and minerals. By taking the daily recommended serving of your prenatal vitamin, you are safe against low levels of vital nutrients.
Prenatal vitamin products provide you with adequate amounts of the water soluble vitamins B and C, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E. Although it is very unlikely to reach toxic levels from vitamins, it is important to understand the difference between water and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins stay in your body for a few days and what is too much gets excreted. Fat soluble vitamins accumulate in your body’s fat tissue and in the organs. During pregnancy it is imperative to have the right amount of fat soluble vitamins to get the benefits but not to double up on those, as the embryo is more sensitive to high doses.
Essential minerals that you need only in trace amounts are part of a complete prenatal vitamin. Due to its bulky size and the amount of 1000mg per day needed, calcium is never present at very high levels. Depending on your diet, your health care provider may prescribe additional calcium supplementation.
The many benefits of taking prenatal vitamins are not necessarily felt in dramatic ways at all times. Remind yourself that the effect of vitamins is best measured by your overall wellbeing. You are more likely to feel the effects of vitamin deficiency with leg cramps or other symptoms. If you suffer from nausea during pregnancy, prenatal vitamins are especially important.