What to Look for in Prenatal Vitamins
If you are planning on having a baby or are already pregnant, your doctor will probably recommend that you take a prenatal vitamin. Even before consulting a doctor, prenatal vitamins can actually be bought over the counter without a prescription because they are considered supplements that are generally safe.
Prenatal vitamins are known to help pregnant women and their babies get the nutrients that they need to have a safe pregnancy and healthy development.
While it is true that the best way to get important vitamins and minerals that we need is by eating a healthy diet, unfortunately, most of us still do not eat as healthy as we need to. In addition to that, food these days is not nearly as healthy as it was many years ago.
This is where prenatal vitamins step in, as they help supply pregnant women’s daily requirements for certain nutrients.
A good prenatal vitamin should contain vitamins and minerals that can help with the pregnancy, especially with the baby’s growthand development. That is why, when choosing a prenatal vitamin, it is important to choose the one that has the best formula and contains essential ingredients.
What to Look for in Prenatal Vitamins?
A sufficient amount of folic acid is very important, especially during the early stages of pregnancy, because it helps prevent neural tube defects in babies, which are abnormalities of the brain and the spinal cord. Aside from that, folic acid also helps in DNA replication and cellular division. A good prenatal vitamin should contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per daily serving.
A prenatal vitamin with at least 30 milligrams of iron is necessary, particularly if you are a vegetarian or have a low red blood cell count or anemia. Otherwise, 17 milligrams is enough per day. Iron is important because it supports the baby’s growth and development, as well as the development of healthy red blood cells that are responsible for the delivery of oxygen to tissues.
Calcium is known to be a vital nutrient that promotes bone development and supports healthy bones, not only for you but for your growing baby as well. Taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 1,000 milligrams per day can also provide extra nutrients, especially if you are lactose intolerant or do not consume enough milk, yogurt, almonds, or dark leafy greens.
At least 15 milligrams of zinc is recommended for a healthy weight delivery and to avoid other health issues related to low birth rate, such as respiratory and digestive system conditions.
Vitamin C is essential for absorption, especially with the increased iron that you are taking during pregnancy. A good prenatal vitamin should contain at least 70 milligrams of vitamin C for stronger immunity and to encourage the development of collagen, cartilage, bones, tendon, and skin. It is also essential to support the baby’s neurological growth.
At least six micrograms of vitamin B12 per day can help support your baby’s neurological growth and also lower the risk of miscarriage and pre-term births. For those who are not pregnant yet but are attempting to become pregnant, vitamin B12 is also recommended, as it is known to increase fertility.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common, but it needs to be avoided during pregnancy, so a daily dose of sunlight is recommended as well as a prenatal vitamin with sufficient amounts of vitamin D. A pregnant woman needs at least 400 international units of vitamin D to support fetal and bone growth as well as calcium absorption.
DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid
DHA is required for healthy brain development and helps prevent learning disorders and mental difficulties. Additionally, DHA promotes intelligence and is the most abundant fatty acid found in the brain. Choose a prenatal vitamin that contains at least 600 milligrams of DHA per serving.
Pregnant women often have to deal with nausea and morning sickness, but both can be reduced by taking a prenatal supplement with at least 10 micrograms of vitamin B6 per day.
Prebiotics, or good bacteria, are also a good addition to prenatal vitamins because they can help lower the risk of miscarriage and postnatal depression. They also support both your and your baby’s digestive and immune health.
Prenatal vitamins need to have all the essential nutrients that pregnant women and developing babies need because they are supposed to fill in the nutritional gaps that cannot be provided by food alone.
Aside from the key nutrients, it is also important to consider how the vitamins are made because everything that you take in is taken in by your baby, too. You would not want your baby to ingest preservatives or artificial colors, dyes, and flavors.
It is also important that you look for a prenatal vitamin that you can take on a regular basis. For instance, if you find it difficult to swallow big capsules, then you might want to consider vitamins in chewable or gummy form.