Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important?
It’s very important to take care of yourself throughout your pregnancy because the healthier you are, the healthier your baby will be. But did you know that taking care of your health before you are even pregnant can impact your pregnancy and baby’s health too? In fact, you should be considerate of your health as soon as possible, and definitely as you plan to conceive.
Prenatal vitamins are one of the ways you can ensure optimum physical health during your pregnancy. A lot of health providers recommend these vitamins even before you’re pregnant when you’re trying to conceive. Just make sure you check with your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet and supplementation.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are designed for women that are trying to have a baby. They contain more of the nutrients that you need when you’re pregnant. You can usually get prenatal vitamins in a combined formula as an over-the-counter medication. Here is what they often contain:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
Different formulas contain different amounts of each mineral. Some contain other components along with these. Your healthcare provider will recommend one that’s best for you according to your requirements.
Why Should You Consider Taking Them?
Pregnancy is an increased demand state, meaning your body needs more of the nutrients than it usually does to keep up with your baby’s growth. The truth is that many women already tend to be nutrient-deficient.
These deficiencies can be exacerbated during pregnancy, causing detrimental effects to both the mother and the baby’s health.
Why Are They Important?
Each component of these prenatal vitamins plays an important part in supporting both the mother and the baby. Here are some components of prenatal vitamins:
- Folic acid, an important nutrient, helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. It also ensures optimum brain and spine development. It is recommended that you start folic acid supplements as soon as you plan to have a baby.
- Iron is an important component of our blood cells. Due to an increased demand for blood, supplemental iron helps maintain the supply to promote proper transport of oxygen and nutrients to both maternal and fetal bodies.
- Iodine deficiency can cause an impaired thyroid function in the baby, which can cause a number of metabolic and mental disturbances.
- Calcium supplementation helps prevent decreased bone mass during pregnancy, reducing the incidence of back pain and other movement problems.
When To Start Taking These Vitamins
You should ideally start these vitamins well before you’re pregnant, as soon as you decide on having a family. It’s recommended that you take these prenatal vitamins at least a month prior to conception with the approval of your healthcare provider.
How Long Should You Take Them?
There is no harm in taking these vitamins for as long as you’re trying to conceive. However, once you’re pregnant, it’s best to ask your healthcare provider whether you should continue taking the same vitamins or take another form of supplementation instead.
If you have any other questions regarding prenatal vitamins, be sure to ask them during your next well-woman visit.