Everything You Need To Know About Prenatal Vitamins

Strike up a conversation with an expecting mom and you’ll quickly find out one of two things: mood swings are real and you are subject to lots of unsolicited advice. However, when it comes to advice from your doctor, we recommend you take it. Prenatal vitamins are the most frequently doctor-recommended dietary supplement for women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant. Whether you’re trying to conceive or you’re an expecting mom, prenatal vitamins are one of the best ways to ensure you and your baby receive the necessary vitamins and minerals during these nine months. Here’s everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.   

Why should you take prenatal vitamins?
Pregnancy is a full-time job––and not an easy one at that. Among other things that come with pregnancy, eating for two can be stressful. It means making sure your diet includes the right amount of nutrients for both you and your baby, and as many women will agree, that’s a lot easier said than done. In fact, it’s very easy for your body to experience a depletion of necessary nutrients when carrying a child. Prenatal vitamins are formulated specifically to fill this nutritional gap to keep both mommy and baby healthy during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

In fact, prenatal vitamins have proven to be so beneficial in ensuring a healthy pregnancy that many women begin taking these vitamins up to three months before they start trying to conceive to prepare the body for pregnancy. Starting prenatal vitamins early aids your body in becoming a safe and healthy home for your baby and helps you avoid any nutritional deficiencies over the coming nine months.

What are the benefits of prenatal vitamins?
Every woman’s body is different and every pregnancy comes with it’s own set of challenges and surprises, which is why prenatal vitamins don’t come in a one-size-fits-all option. The prenatal vitamins that work for your best friend might not be the same exact ones that work for you. Consult with your doctor to find the best prenatal vitamin option for your body and your baby.

Primarily, prenatal vitamins contain levels of calcium, iron and folic acid. Your body needs sufficient levels of calcium to support your baby’s bone development. If your body doesn’t receive enough calcium from your diet, your baby will start drawing calcium from your bones. Taking calcium-rich prenatal vitamins keep your bones strong while providing your baby with enough calcium to develop and grow. Additionally, calcium also helps reduce your chance of developing hypertension, preeclampsia or other health risks after pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins also typically contain levels of iron to ensure your body is generating enough blood to support both you and your baby. Iron helps move oxygen from your lungs to your baby, contributes to preventing anemia and supports the growth and development of a healthy baby.

Folic acid is another key component found in most prenatal vitamins and is responsible for protecting your newborn against brain and spinal cord birth defects. Doctors recommend taking folic acid supplements before you’re pregnant to protect the baby against neural development defects because these can occur within the first 28 days after conception.

When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
Doctors recommend prenatal vitamins to expecting moms more than any other dietary supplement––and for good reason. To get the maximum benefits, a woman should begin taking prenatal vitamins three months before conception.

Already pregnant and haven’t hopped aboard the prenatal vitamin train yet? When it comes to dietary supplements, a better-late-than-never approach is better than no approach at all to ensure your baby and your body receive as many nutrients as possible. It can be hard to get enough Folic acid and other necessary nutrients from your diet alone, so take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy to make sure your body is getting just what it needs for a healthy pregnancy.

Depending on your body, your baby and your pregnancy, your doctor may recommend taking prenatal vitamins after your pregnancy––especially if you’re breastfeeding. After you give birth to your baby, your body is still responsible for producing breast milk to feed your newborn. The quality of a woman’s breast milk depends on her body’s nutrients, so it’s essential to make sure your body continues to get plenty of vitamins and minerals to support both you and your baby even after you give birth.

Pregnancy changes your body in more ways than you’d think is possible in just nine months, but prenatal vitamins offer the support and nutrition you need to keep you and your baby healthy from conception to pregnancy and postpartum.

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