Here is a list with all the prenatal supplements, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients a future mother needs for a healthy pregnancy.
A balanced diet includes all the necessary vitamins and nutrients required to nourish your body. The need to provide proper nourishment to your body is only doubled during pregnancy.
Prenatal supplements are a source of various vitamins and minerals required for the healthy development of your baby.
Let us understand the different sources of prenatal vitamins and their benefits during all the stages of your pregnancy.
Prenatal Supplements You Need
Here are the most essential prenatal supplements every soon-to-be mommy needs to know about:
These are the prenatal vitamins are vitamin supplements prescribed by your OB/GYN or your doctor when you are pregnant.
They aid in the proper nourishment and development of the fetus as well as the health of the mother.
The multivitamins contain iron, calcium, folic acid (folate), iodine, magnesium, thiamine, zinc, vitamin A, E, C, and D.
They help the pregnant mother to recover all the nutritious requirements that may have been missed out from their regular diet.
The multivitamins are also prescribed as per the needs of the mother and her growing baby. For instance, a pregnant mother whose diet includes vegetarian food might vary from that of a mother whose diet includes non-vegetarian food.
The needs can change even in the case of twins or triplets. Hence, it is crucial to ask your consulting doctor or OB/GYN before starting the multivitamin course.
Iron is a mineral source required by the body to produce hemoglobin which transports oxygen from the lungs to the entire body.
This is the reason pregnant mothers need double the amount of hemoglobin to help carry oxygen to the baby, as well as aid in the baby’s iron requirements.
You will need around 27 milligrams (mg) of iron daily when you’re pregnant and around 9 milligrams (mg) when you start breastfeeding your baby.
Calcium minerals play a vital role in the development of the baby’s bones, muscles, heart, and the nervous system.
The calcium requirements of pregnant women are about 1,000 milligrams per day. This can be acquired by taking prenatal supplements or getting it from other sources of calcium like dairy products, green leafy vegetables, tofu, etc.
4. Folic Acid
Folate or Folic acid is a B vitamin typically found in grains, legumes, and green vegetables. It is required for the growth and development of the body.
Each cell in your body benefits from folate and can prevent serious birth defects of the spinal cord and the brain, known as the neural tube defects (NTD’s).
During pregnancy, an average of 600 milligrams of Folic acid supplements or prenatal vitamins is required each day.
In the initial stages of pregnancy, folic acid helps in preventing birth defects, while in the later stages of pregnancy it aids in the healthy development of the baby.
Thyroid hormones are crucial to the body as they assist in using and storing energy from the food we consume. Iodine is an essential mineral which helps in generating these hormones.
Iodine also helps speedy and healthy development of the brain and the nervous system of your baby.
A pregnant mother needs 220 micrograms of iodine every day and can source it from salt, cereals, dairy, and fish.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of magnesium, calcium, and phosphate in your body.
Apart from helping the body to boost immunity, it helps your baby to grow teeth and bones. Consuming 600 IU of vitamin D daily during pregnancy is ideal and can be sourced from foods like fatty fish, dairy, vitamin supplements, and sunlight.
The Benefits Of Prenatal Supplements
As we are aware, getting all the required nutrients in a meal is essentially impossible on a day to day basis.
Expectant mothers usually lose appetite due to morning sickness or fatigue.
According to What To Expect, “though a daily prenatal supplement can’t take the place of a good prenatal diet, it can serve as dietary insurance, guaranteeing that your baby won’t be cheated if you don’t always hit the nutritional mark you’re aiming for. Many women, for example, are deficient in vitamin D, and taking prenatal supplements can help bump up your vitamin D levels to where they should be.”
Apart from aiding nourishment, the vitamins also have other benefits like reducing nausea (B6), birth defects (B9), pre-term birth (B12), and autism.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Prenatal supplements are prescribed according to each women’s pregnancy needs and medical history. So, the chances of experiencing side effects due to these vitamins are very rare.
However, the nature of the vitamins can cause different symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, appetite loss, cramps, dark stool or stomach upsets.
Consult an OB/GYN or a midwife immediately to discontinue or change the source of the prenatal vitamins.
When Is The Right Time To Start The Vitamin Course?
The vitamin sources are prescribed for general nutrition and can be started even at the time of conception.
Doctors and other medical professionals recommend pregnant mothers to start taking vitamin supplements from week 3 to 4 and can continue until breastfeeding the baby.
Hence, it is very important to consult a doctor before conceiving to prepare a proper dietary and prenatal vitamin course to aid a healthy pregnancy.
Directions To Take The Dietary Supplements
As mentioned earlier, prenatal supplements can cause a few side effects like nausea, stomach cramps, constipation, etc. Avoid them by drinking adequate water amounts, eating fibrous food, and exercising regularly.
If these remedies don’t work, consult your doctor immediately to avoid the side effects.
The dietary supplements should be taken alongside a meal or before going to sleep.
No prenatal vitamins should be combined, increased or decreased without consulting your doctor. Even excess amounts of vitamins can have adverse effects on the body as well as the growing baby.
As mentioned by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should include an average daily intake of at least 200 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in addition to their prenatal vitamins.
Hence, taking the necessary and prescribed vitamin and DHA sources leads to a healthy pregnancy, reducing the risks of complications for both the mother and baby.
These prenatal supplements should be balanced with a healthy and nutritious diet for wholesome nourishment.