Pregnancy can be hard on your body. That's why you need prenatal vitamins to keep you and your baby healthy.
Learn more about prenatal vitamins and why you need them.
Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important?
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that you should take to keep your prenatal and postnatal reproductive health in check. These supplements should contain folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and other necessary prenatal nutrients.
There are various reasons why you should take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. Some of these reasons include:
Preventing Neural Tube Defects (NTDs)
Neural tube defects arise when part of the neural tube fails to develop completely. Such defects indicate incomplete brain formation or an incomplete spinal cord formation.
If the fetus suffers from these defects, your baby may have permanent disabilities like spina bifida or anencephaly. A key element in prenatal vitamins is folic acid, which encourages the proper formation of the neural tubes.
Preventing Birth Defects
Prenatal vitamins also help prevent other birth defects that may result in developmental disabilities or physical deformities.
For example, prenatal vitamins with proper amounts of vitamin A and D3 work together to ensure bone formation in the body. This way, your baby will have strong and well-developed bones after they're born.
Proper Prenatal Development
Prenatal nutrients provide pregnant women with all the nutrients needed for prenatal growth, cellular processes, fetal development, and even maternal tissue growth.
Basic prenatal vitamins include iron for red blood cell production so that pregnant women do not suffer from anemia (iron-deficiency anemia). They also contain calcium that promotes healthy teeth and bone formation necessary for prenatal development.
Are Prenatal Vitamins Different from Other Multivitamins?
If you plan on getting pregnant or are already expecting, consider your prenatal vitamin part of your prenatal care. These supplements contain higher levels of folic acid, calcium, vitamin C, and iron than standard multivitamins. Your prenatal vitamins should also contain iodine, which helps with the formation of your baby's thyroid gland.
Additionally, prenatal vitamins typically include natural beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A when absorbed into the body. Vitamin A is integral for prenatal development, as it also helps with the formation of your baby's tissues.
Be sure to contact your pregnancy care specialist before taking prenatal vitamins. You can discuss prenatal vitamin options and ensure you take the correct amount of prenatal vitamins.
When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
There is no exact time to start prenatal vitamins. However, prenatal vitamins should be taken at least one month before trying to conceive.
Once you get pregnant, continue taking prenatal vitamins regularly to support prenatal development. The amount of prenatal vitamins you take depends on your vitamin brand. However, try to stay consistent in taking the vitamins as a pregnancy care routine.
Contact a clinic like Sandhills OB-GYN for more information.