How to choose a prenatal vitamin

Whether you are preparing your body for pregnancy, growing a baby or nourishing a baby through breastfeeding it is important to take a Prenatal Vitamin. Your body requires extra nutrients to support a developing baby and healthy mama. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to absorb essential nutrients, but taking a prenatal vitamin can cover any gaps and ensure optimal nutrition.

What’s in a Prenatal Vitamin?

  • Prenatal vitamins contain the essential nutrients a pregnant or nursing woman needs to grow a healthy baby, specifically folate, calcium and iron.

Why should you take a Prenatal Vitamin?

  • During pregnancy, your body requires more nutrients to promote healthy development of the baby and optimal health of the Mama-to-be.
  • Why is Folate important?
    • Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that our bodies need to make DNA and other genetic material. It is important for pregnant women to get enough folic acid to prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine called neural tube defects.
    • Natural sources of folic acid: dark green leafy veggies (spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens) asparagus, Brussels sprouts, oranges and orange juice, peanuts, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans.
  • Why is Iron important?
    • The body needs Iron to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the blood to organs and tissues. During pregnancy, your blood supply can increase up to 50% as you are now supplying oxygen to your growing baby.
    • Natural sources of Iron: lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals, and prune juice. Iron also can be absorbed more easily if iron-rich foods are eaten with vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
  • Why is Calcium important?
    • Calcium is used to maintain strong bones and teeth. Additionally, calcium helps release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.
    • Natural sources of calcium: Milk, cheese and yogurt, are the best sources of calcium. If you have trouble digesting milk products, you can get calcium from other sources, such as broccoli; dark, leafy greens; sardines; or a calcium supplement.

What’s the difference between brands & How to choose a prenatal vitamin…

  • Prenatal Vitamins are tailored to provide the extra nutrients a pregnant or nursing woman’s body requires. There are tons of options when it comes to prenatal vitamins and it can be overwhelming to choose. It’s important to note that currently, there are no standards governing the amounts of nutrients in prenatal vitamin formulas, so the contents can vary from brand to brand.
  • The most expensive brand isn’t necessarily the best, as many inexpensive options are fine as long as they have the same levels of vitamins and minerals…
    • At least 400mg of folic acid before pregnancy and the American Obstetrics recommend 600mg for pregnant women
    • At least 1,000 mg of Calcium
    • At least 27mg of iron
  • Make sure you read the label on the back of your prenatal vitamins- the number of pills you take daily is important so you can be sure you are getting the recommended amounts of essential nutrients
  • If you have a sensitive stomach, choose a brand that had lower amounts of Iron or take your vitamin with food to avoid feeling nauseous.
  • If you want vegan or vegetarian options, check out brands like Vitamin Code or New Chapter
  • If you are on a budget, try the VitaFusion gummies (which are also easy on the stomach)

When should you take pre-natal vitamins?

  • You should be taking a prenatal vitamin if you are considering becoming pregnant, actively trying to become pregnant and throughout pregnancy.

Sources:
US News Health
CDC
National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Disclaimer: Guys, I am not a licensed Medical Provider, this information is not should not take the place of medical advice. Please consult with your doctor if you have questions about taking supplements or vitamins during pregnancy.

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