During pregnancy, a pregnant mother’s body needs more energy, calories, and micronutrients. Though the mother must eat a variety of foodstuff to get these nutrients, it is impossible to get all the nutrients they need from food alone, and this is where supplements come into play.
Prenatal vitamins are supplements made to provide the pregnant mother’s body with the necessary minerals and nutrients. Your doctor may suggest that you begin using them as you plan for pregnancy, and all through the pregnancy, for better results. This article aims to inform you of what you need to know about prenatal supplements.
Table of Contents
What Prenatal Vitamins Do You Need?
When looking for prenatal supplements, be sure to look out for those composed of the necessary vitamins and minerals for pregnancy. Be on the lookout for ones that have the following;
- 400mcg of folic acid
- 400 IU of vitamin D
- 200-300 mg of Calcium
- 3mg of thiamine
- 70mg of vitamin C
- 20mg Niacin
- 2mg riboflavin
- 6mcg of Vitamin B12
- 10mg Vitamin E
- 17mg Iron
- 15mg Zinc
- 150 mcg(micrograms) iodine
In some cases, the doctor will prescribe a specific type of supplement for you.
Folic Acid, Calcium, Iodine, and Iron
It is especially important to prevent congenital disabilities related to the child’s spinal cord and brain. Since most pregnancies are unplanned, doctors insist that pregnant women take 400mcg of folic acid daily for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Foods that can increase this intake include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, etc.
The aim of supplementing calcium is to increase the amount of the vitamin in the body as the baby’s bone development might drain calcium from your body.
This is important for the mother’s thyroid function, preventing miscarriages, stillbirth, stunted growth, severe mental disability, and deafness.
This helps in the creation of more blood cells that are responsible for transporting oxygen to the baby for development.
Other supplements might help improve your health during pregnancy; your doctor will recommend them for you, but here are a few examples of such;
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These vitamins are sourced from fatty fish and nuts and help prevent preterm births and have an underweight baby. Consult your doctor if you do not occasionally eat food rich in omega-3.
The body does produce choline on its own; however, food is the primary source of the nutrient. Food such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, and eggs are rich in choline. If you do not have proper intake of the same, say you are a vegetarian or a vegan, consult your doctor for proper medication.
When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
The ideal time to start taking supplements is before conceiving. This means that you should also start taking your supplements, specifically one month before conception, as you plan to get pregnant. Some doctors recommend that all women capable of giving birth should take prenatal supplements, even if pregnancy is not in their plans.
One crucial supplement is folic acid, as it helps prevent neural tube defects.
Will Prenatal Supplement Get You Pregnant?
While these supplements help pregnant mothers gain the necessary vitamins and nutrients, they are not designed to help them get pregnant. If you want to give yourself a fair chance at child conception, get a preconception checkup. This helps you see if any pre-existing conditions might affect the pregnancy.
Can You Take Off-The-Counter Prenatal Care?
There is no problem with taking supplements off-the-counter; however, you must consult your doctor when buying these supplements. A good example would be asking the doctor about a particular herb you heard of or taking the bottle to the doctor.
What About Morning Sickness and Vomiting?
If you are experiencing this, make sure you take the vitamins the previous night before bed. This allows you to sleep through nausea.
What Are The Side Effects of These Supplements?
Prenatal supplements prescribed by your doctor will generally have few to no side effects. However, some may cause nausea in an already nauseous pregnant woman. If this happens, the doctor may recommend other options that do not require you to swallow as a whole. These may include chewable and liquid supplements.
The iron in prenatal vitamins may lead to constipation, and you can resolve this by taking;
- High fiber meals
- Lots of water
- The time to exercise(if the doctor says it is safe to do so)
- A stool softener as recommended by the doctor.
If other side effects come along, do seek medical advice from your doctor.
Preparing for a child starts from before conception when you begin plans to have one. To prepare healthily, you should ensure you begin changing your diet to incorporate all necessary nutrients for the process. Still, since not all vitamins and nutrients will be taken through food, you must begin supplementing these vitamins and nutrients. Also, keep in touch with your doctor all through this process to ensure you have the best prenatal care for yourself.
Another essential thing to keep in mind is the nutrition of the child after birth, how to supplement, and how to manage the child’s diet after suckling and for the future. Once feeding starts, you should properly package the baby’s food. Baby food packaging from professional retort pouch suppliers comes in handy as they provide the best quality products that will keep the baby’s food in good condition and contaminant free