Take Prenatal Vitamins for Important Nutrients During Pregnancy

Taking prenatal vitamins and eating foods that contain essential nutrients and vitamins are important for bringing a healthy baby to term. Eating a healthy diet serves both the mother and the growing fetus well during the gestation, but taking specific vitamins is crucial to ensure that the baby has everything it needs to grow and develop properly. Even for someone who eats well, taking the vitamins will give the mother’s body what it needs.

Key Ingredients in Prenatal Vitamins

While prenatal vitamins typically contain about a dozen individual vitamins, the four most important include folic acid, calcium, iodine, and iron.

Folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, citrus fruits and fortified foods, is important for preventing neural tube birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Since these systems develop early and approximately 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, any woman of childbearing age should take about 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, even before becoming pregnant. This should be continued for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and throughout lactation. Nursing mothers should continue to take them throughout lactation.

Calcium keeps a woman’s bones strong, as the baby takes calcium from the mother to develop its own bone.

Iodine helps maintain proper thyroid function and is essential to prevent deafness, severe mental disabilities, and stunted physical growth. A deficiency of iodine can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Iron enriches the blood of both mother and baby with oxygen, and promotes growth and development.
What Should You Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin?

An ideal prenatal vitamin might include:

400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid
400 IU of vitamin D
200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium
70 mg of vitamin C
3 mg of thiamine
2 mg of riboflavin
20 mg of niacin
6 mcg of vitamin B12
10 mg of vitamin E
15 mg of zinc
70 mg of iron
150 micrograms of iodine
These vitamins are available over-the-counter. As different brands vary in the amount of specific ingredients, it is important to carefully read the label to buy the best one. In some cases, your provider might recommend a particular brand, write a prescription for some, or offer guidelines. Some OTC brands may give too much or too little of specific vitamins and may vary in consistency and quality. Your provider may also recommend that you take increased folic acid or other supplements separately, so as not to increase the concentration of other vitamins such as A, which can be toxic to the fetus in large quantities. For example, if you have previously given birth to a baby with a neural tube defect, your provider might prescribe up to four milligrams of folic acid before and during future pregnancies.

Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins

Despite the importance of taking prenatal vitamins, some women find that taking the pills makes them nauseous as well as constipated. In this case, your provider might suggest that you buy a different brand of vitamin, use a stool softener, take the vitamins with a snack, or switch to a liquid, soft chew, or soft gel form of the product. He or she might even want you to take separate folic acid, calcium with vitamin D, or iron supplements if nothing else works for you.

If you are pregnant, taking prenatal vitamins is essential for your health and that of your unborn child. Your doctor or midwife at Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center will discuss your options and further explain the importance of prenatal vitamins in fetal development to ensure a healthy baby.

Whole Food Vitamins Are Important For Pregnancy Nutrition

When it comes to pregnancy nutrition, mothers-to-be should consider supplementing with whole food vitamins. These types of vitamins are extracted from natural sources rather than chemically engineered, and the result is better pregnancy nutrition before conception, during fetal development and after childbirth.

Why Do Expectant Mothers Need Vitamin Supplements for Pregnancy Nutrition?

The human body is an amazing machine with a remarkable ability to get what it needs from the resources offered by nature. By eating a healthy diet, we are able to extract the necessary balance of vitamins, minerals, fats, and energy sources needed to keep our bodies running the way they were intended to work. Pregnancy nutrition requires us to be even more vigilant in getting the nutrients required so that the fetus is able to develop into a physically and mentally healthy baby.

The unfortunate truth is that many of us don’t eat a properly balanced diet any more, and the need for specialized pregnancy nutrition makes this even more evident. There are numerous factors that play into this change in the way we eat, including the availability, convenience, and low cost of processed foods. Adding supplements like whole food vitamins allows us access to regain some of those essential compounds that are missing from the processed foods we eat on a daily basis.

Why Are Whole Food Vitamins Better?

Whole food vitamins utilize sources found in nature, rather than synthesized compounds. The advantage, whether as a part of pregnancy nutrition or not, is that they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the human body. Most of us know that the best places to find health-sustaining nutrients is through a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, but few of us actually get enough of these foods in our day-to-day regimens. Whole food vitamins are extracted from these fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of other naturally occurring sources. Because the body recognize these compounds-as opposed to synthetic or isolated vitamins-it knows how to put them to use. In the case of vitamins that have been isolated from their whole food sources or even created in the lab, as much as 90% of them pass directly through our bodies with no actual benefit.

A pregnancy nutrition plan usually includes a need for extra vitamins. It is nearly unreasonable to add these healthy components to a diet only to extract 10% of the actual benefits. Instead, making whole food vitamins a part of an overall pregnancy nutrition regimen helps ensure that the nutrients are actually being absorbed and used for the health of both the baby and the mother.

Where Do Whole Food Vitamins Come From?

The whole food vitamins and supplements used for pregnancy nutrition come from a variety of natural sources. Some are extracted from beets, alfalfa, and bee pollen, for example. Rather than simply isolating these nutrients, they remain attached to their whole food ingredients to allow the body to recognize and readily utilize them. Other sources range from herbs like parsley and to less obvious candidates like fossilized coral. Coral provides the calcium that is such an important part of pregnancy nutrition.

Because the whole food vitamins recommended for pregnancy nutrition also include live enzymes, they allow even greater access by the body. These enzymes help to break down the nutrients, which include antioxidants, in order to be absorbed by the cells that use them for proper functioning. By processing the whole food vitamins at low temperatures, manufacturers are able to preserve these live enzymes and create the most powerful supplements that science and nature can team up to make.

Is it a Good Idea

Many nutrients are of particular importance as you enter into pregnancy and motherhood. You probably already know about folate and calcium. But many women aren’t aware of the importance of other nutrients like iron, DHA, and vitamin B6. In fact, there are more than a dozen nutrients that you need more of in your diet during pregnancy than you have ever needed before.

Some experts suggest that during pregnancy you will need 100 percent more iron, 60 percent more vitamin A, 50 percent more vitamin B6 and folate (folic acid), and 30 percent more vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B12, and vitamin B2. Nutrients can do more than simply prevent deficiencies. Certain nutrients can enhance fertility, ease nausea, boost your energy, relieve breast engorgement pain, or prevent postpartum depression. Let’s see what these important pregnancy nutrients have to offer.

Folate
You need to start getting more folate (folic acid) before you even conceive. This B vitamin plays a vital role in the growth and division of cells. a process that occurs at an astounding rate in your developing baby. Experts now suggest that women take a folic acid supplement at least three months before conception to give their baby the best start in life. During pregnancy, your folic acid needs are double that of an average woman (increasing from 500 mcg to 600 to 1000 mcg per day). Not having enough of this essential vitamin in your diet can lead to problem with your baby’s development. Deficiencies in folic acid during pregnancy have been linked to increased incidence of neural-tube defects and lower birth weights in research studies.

Iron
Pumping iron this phrase may conjure pictures of large, muscular men in a weight room doing biceps curls, but it’s useful to keep in mind when it comes to understanding how iron works in your body and during pregnancy. Women of childbearing age and pregnant women are at risk of having low iron levels in their blood.

Iron is an essential part of your red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen (the body’s main source of fuel) from your lungs to be the rest of your body. Suffering from low iron levels will slow the movement of oxygen around your body, making you feel fatigued and preventing you from pumping iron. Anemia, the clinical term for low iron levels, is associated with fatigue. During pregnancy, you may feel fatigue caused by the immense energy demands of this new baby making venture your body has embarked on. By including lots of food in your diet that are high in iron, you can prevent anemia and keep your energy levels up.

Calcium
You will trade in that glass of wine for a glass of milk during pregnancy. Your calcium requirements double during pregnancy; in fact, you will need about 1000 mg of calcium a day. That’s about the amount of calcium in 3-4 glasses of milk.

It’s well known that calcium is important for healthy bones, and your baby is trying to grow 300 of them. but many women don’t appreciate what a medical marvel calcium is. Keeping your calcium levels up can help decrease your risk of developing during pregnancy in which a mother’s blood pressure becomes too high. Eating calcium rich foods like yogurt, cheddar cheese, tofu, and chia seeds can help you ensure that your body has enough calcium. Vegetarians will find the wide variety of leafy green vegetables and other calcium rich foods, like tahini and figs, highlighted in the next few chapters helpful, because if you are a vegetarian, you are particularly susceptible to low calcium levels in your diet.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is calcium’s right hand man in the body. Vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium in your body and improves your ability to use calcium to make bone. It also plays a role in nervous system function and heart health.

The importance of vitamin D in our diet, especially during pregnancy, is becoming more apparent thank to new research. British researchers have found that giving pregnant women vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of their children developing multiple sclerosis later in life. Unfortunately, many women are vitamin D deficient, particularly if they live in climates that don’t receive a lot of sunlight of their days are spent mostly indoors. You need about 400 IU of vitamin D a day, which you can get from sunlight and most dairy products. Including foods like salmon, sardines, milk, and eggs in your diet is a great way to get your vitamin D.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy

Vitamin D is one of the pregnancy vitamins that every woman should consider adding to her regime. Health researchers have found that this vitamin benefits both mother and baby. Below are some of the benefits that can be reaped taking vitamin d in your pregnancy diet:

Decreased risk of pregnancy-related complications:

There was a study done the Medical University of South Carolina that involved 500 pregnant women. The women were divided into three groups. The first group was given 400 I.U. of vitamin D, the second group was given 2000 I.U. of and the third group was given 5000 I.U.. The results of the study were that the women in the third group had the lowest incidences of gestational diabetes, preterm birth and infections.

Decreased risk of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that causes high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. This condition can potentially be fatal for both mother and child. In fact, preeclampsia is the number one cause of maternal and fetal death. The good news is that vitamin D in your pregnancy diet can help prevent this condition. Studies have shown that mothers who take vitamin D pregnancy have a reduced risk of developing preeclampsia.

Lower incidences of respiratory infections in newborns

Newborns are very susceptible to developing a respiratory infection because their immune systems have not fully developed. Researchers have found a link between low maternal vitamin D pregnancy and frequent infection respiratory infections in infants. They have also found that taking vitamin D pregnancy can reduce the number of respiratory infections that a baby has during his first five years of life.

Again, taking vitamin D during your pregnancy is one of the best things that you can do to keep you and your developing baby health. You also need to make sure that you are taking your other pregnancy vitamins and following an overall health diet. Below is some information about the pregnancy diet:

Foods to avoid

There are a number of foods that you want to make sure that you avoid while you are following your pregnancy diet. Mackerel, swordfish, tilefish and shark should not be consumed because they contain high levels of mercury. You also want to make sure that you avoid consuming undercooked meat.

You also need to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Studies have shown that even small quantities of alcohol can cause birth defects. You also want to make sure that you limit the amount of caffeine that you consume. Excessive amount of caffeine have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Two hundred milligrams of caffeine is the maximum amount that you should consume per day. That is the amount of caffeine that is one twelve ounce cup of coffee.

Pregnancy food

You should make sure that you are consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You also need to make sure that you eat plenty of iron-rich foods, such as beans, turkey, dry fruit and mollusks. Salmon is another great pregnancy food. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which is a nutrient that has been shown to help a baby’s brain develop normally.

Please consult your physician before making any dietary changes.

Pregnancy in the Sixth Week

During week 6 of pregnancy, you may begin to experience an increase of pregnancy symptoms such as food cravings and aversions – also morning sickness. The embryo at this stage is 0.08 to 0.16 inches long, and structures and organs are more defined. Pregnancy week by week progresses – at 6 weeks, you begin experiencing more pregnancy symptoms. Your baby’s heart is beating in a normal pattern. The physical signs of the pregnancy stages can include nausea, extreme fatigue, tender and aching breasts. At this stage, your own health care is very important.

Pregnancy week by week shows that the embryo is growing rapidly and other pregnancy symptoms include a frequent need to urinate. Although these symptoms occur in the early pregnancy stages as well, they are more severe during week 6 due to the rapid growth of the embryo. Therefore, adequate health care for the pregnant mother is absolutely essential.

Part of your health care during pregnancy, particularly when you are 6 weeks pregnant should be to drink plenty of water, as morning sickness can occur at any hour even all day long. During your pregnancy stages, you should bear in mind that alcohol, nicotine and drugs should be avoided altogether. Some of the pregnancy symptoms will include food cravings, your breasts becoming larger and a slight weight gain. As the development of pregnancy week by week progresses, your baby’s heart beat is distinct and the backbone and head are beginning to form.

During pregnancy, your health care should include a high protein diet that includes soy, milk, cheese and fish, yogurt, fruit juice and cereal. Try to avoid fried and oily foods. If your pregnancy symptoms include nausea, try to take your vitamins with a citric juice, but do not cut out your vitamins. Pregnancy in the 6th week and right through your pregnancy stages should include light exercise like walking, aerobics or even yoga, but always consult your doctor.

Are You Taking Enough Vitamins During Pregnancy

Whether you need supplements of vitamins during pregnancy is a debatable issue. However, most women are of the opinion that, prenatal vitamins are vital for fulfilling the requirement of nutrition during pregnancy. This holds particularly true when you have a deficiency.

Common supplements of vitamins are those containing iron, folic acid, and other such crucial nutrients that you need during this nine-month phase. In case you are lactose-intolerant, the doctor may recommend you calcium supplements, to fulfill the increased calcium requirement in your body.

Not all women are so healthy that they can provide all the essential nutrients to their developing baby through natural food sources. Moreover, the need for calcium, minerals, iron, and vitamins increases. In such a situation, pregnancy vitamins help. There are more than 50 nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.

Pregnancy Nutrition

Folic acid – it is a B vitamin, essential before conception and in first trimester. It decreases the risk of various scary neural tube defects like, spina bifida, encephalocele, and anencephaly.

Iron – it is crucial, as it produced red blood cells that transport oxygen to the fetus. You need double amount of iron in this period.

Calcium – it is essential for the healthy development of bones and teeth of your baby. It also prevents the onset of osteoporosis in you.

Vitamin A – important for the health of skin, normal cell growth, and developing resistance to infection.

Vitamin D – essential for strong bones of your baby and regulation of calcium absorption

Vitamin C – inevitable for strong gums, teeth, and bones. Helps in iron absorption.

B vitamins like vitamin B6, thiamine, and riboflavin – B6 is important for brain and nervous system development. Thiamine (B1) is essential for brain development. Riboflavin (B2) encourages development of muscles, bones, and nerves of your baby.

Protein – it’s the building block of your baby’s cells.

Potassium – it maintains fluid balance in cells.

Zinc – helps in tissue development of your baby and reduces the risk of neural tube disorders.
The aim is to provide adequate nutrition during this stage. But, supplements are NOT a substitute for nutritious food. They work in combination with a balanced diet. Besides, always consult your doctor before staring any supplement for vitamins during pregnancy.

To take supplements of vitamins during pregnancy is under debate. However, most of the pregnant women prefer them for adequate nutrition during pregnancy. But, pregnancy vitamins work best only when combined with a balanced pregnancy diet.