Do Prenatal Vitamins Make You Gain Weight?
Do prenatal vitamins make you gain weight when you start taking them, or is the weight gain that women experience later on only related to pregnancy?
Prenatal vitamins are used by women around the world to ensure that their bodies can support the growth of beautiful, healthy babies.
These vitamins are wonderful at supplementing the areas that are especially important throughout pregnancy, but are there any unwanted side effects that they cause?
In particular, one side effect that people often worry about when they start taking prenatal vitamins is whether or not they lead you to gain weight.
As most women usually start to take prenatal vitamins before they start trying to get pregnant, this can be a major concern for them.
Why Women Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you aren’t yet familiar with prenatal vitamins, you might be wondering why they are so widely used by women who are hoping to conceive or are expecting.
These women are hoping to boost their nutrition intake to ensure that their bodies can conceive successfully.
At the same, they also aim to provide the appropriate nutrition to their baby once they do conceive.
There are several vitamins and minerals that women often lack during pregnancy, and taking a prenatal supplement can support a healthy pregnancy.
Women who follow special diets or have any dietary restrictions can benefit even more from these vitamins because they can bridge the caps of missing vitamins and minerals.
There are many other benefits to using prenatal vitamins, as well, including:
Lowers Risks of Neural Tube Defects
Folic acid can help to prevent certain types of congenital defects in babies.
As such, prenatal vitamins nearly always include folic acid.
Helps Reduces Nausea
It has been suggested that women who use prenatal vitamins before and during their conception period have less nausea, likely due to increased levels of vitamin B6.
That taking prenatal vitamins is believed to help conception happen faster due to improved fertility.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
What exactly are prenatal vitamins, and how are they different from multivitamins?
The exact formulation of prenatal vitamins is going to differ depending on the brand and the blend.
However, there are some common components found in most prenatals that go above and beyond what is found in a general multivitamin.
- Folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects
- Iron, which prevents anemia and supports overall fetal development
- Calcium, which promotes better bone development
- DHA, which supports fetal brain and neural development
Some prenatal vitamins also include more general vitamins and minerals that might be found in a multivitamin.
Others do not and can be used alongside a multivitamin, though.
Most women choose to take prenatal vitamins that will take care of all their needs at once without overloading them with any unnecessary nutrients.
The key thing to remember whether you decide to use a prenatal vitamin or not is that no vitamin pill is going to be a complete supplement for a well-rounded and healthy diet.
Expectant and TTC mothers need to ensure that they are following a healthy meal plan that gives them and their future baby all of the nutrition that they need.
Prenatal vitamins are meant to support, not replace, a good diet.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Make You Gain Weight?
Now, let’s get to the most important question of the day.
Should you be worried about prenatal vitamins causing you to gain weight?
At this time, no evidence supports the idea that prenatal vitamins directly cause any weight gain.
In fact, women tend to gain between 20 and 35 pounds during pregnancy whether or not they take any type of prenatal vitamin.
For women who have become pregnant, weight gain is likely related to your pregnancy.
For women still trying to conceive, there is likely another reason, as prenatal vitamins contain very few calories and no substances that would directly cause weight gain.
Possible Causes of Weight Gain
If you have been taking prenatal vitamins and feel like you are gaining weight because of them, there a few other potential causes.
Any women with serious concerns about their weight gain and its effect on their pregnancy should contact their doctor as soon as possible.
Sudden Weight Gain
Should you experience sudden weight gain, especially weight gain that is accompanied by headaches and abdominal pain, you should see a doctor immediately.
This could be a sign of a more serious pregnancy condition that needs to be looked at as soon as possible.
Preeclampsia, in particular, is a risk that you will need to consider.
It could lead to serious health problems for you and your baby if left untreated.
Constipation and Bloating
Some prenatal vitamins can cause constipation or bloat, and both of these conditions may leave you feeling like things are fitting tighter than before.
Even if you feel like this is making you uncomfortable, do not stop taking your prenatal vitamins without talking to your doctor first.
Whether or not you decide to take prenatal vitamins, it is very important to ensure that your body is getting the right kind of nutrition needed before and during pregnancy.
This is to ensure that your body and your baby are as healthy as possible.
Do prenatal vitamins make you gain weight in ways that you should be concerned about?
No, they do not.
Weight gain is typically caused by pregnancy itself and not increased by an additional supplement being used.
Rather than worrying specifically about weight gain, just keep a close eye on your overall health, regardless if you are taking supplements or not.
All supplements can have side effects, and everyone’s body reacts differently, so keep track of your body and be sure to check in with your doctor regularly.
In the long run, monitoring your health is the best thing that you can do for you and your baby.
Most women find that taking prenatal vitamins improves their overall pregnancy experience.
As such, worrying about weight gain from the pills should not be your primary concern.
If you’d like to read more information on factors that might cause weight gain while taking prenatal vitamins, you may check our other post here.