What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are supplementary multivitamins that enrich an expectant mother with the necessary nutrients for pre-pregnancy, during and post-pregnancy. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet. Instead, taking them together with a balanced natural diet is best. Veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains are important components of a natural diet. If taken correctly, prenatal vitamins will not only support a woman’s nutritional needs during pregnancy but also restock her nutritional reserves after birth.
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins
One of the most significant benefits of prenatal vitamins is that they help prepare the body for pregnancy. Vegan prenatal vitamins provide key nutrients for a pregnant mother as well as her unborn child. Perhaps the most recognized advantage of prenatal vitamins is the prevention of birth defects. By taking these vitamins before conception, women enrich their bodies with folic acid.
This nutrient assists in the development of the neural tube, which later develops into the spinal cord and brain of the baby. Vegan prenatal vitamins provide pregnant women with the right amounts of nutrients they need without the use of animal byproducts. According to research, vegan prenatal vitamins can prevent diseases and problems associated with pregnancy, such as;
- Postpartum depression
- Low immunity
- Low appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Fetal diabetes
- Irritation of the skin, and
When to Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
If you are trying to conceive, doctors often advise that you start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months prior to conception. A healthy pregnancy depends on essential minerals, such as folic acid. Taking vegan prenatal vitamins a few months before trying to conceive equips a woman’s body with essential minerals.
Prenatal vitamins will also counteract some of the severe symptoms of pregnancy in the early stages, such as fatigue, cramps, and nausea. Your medical professional will most likely recommend that you continue taking prenatal supplements throughout the pregnancy and even after birth when breastfeeding.
How to Choose Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal supplements are generally available over the counter across many pharmacies and online. They do not require a doctor’s prescription. Choosing what prenatal vitamins to take is solely up to the individual. You should, however, pay attention to some key nutrients when purchasing these supplements. Here are 7 things to look for in your prenatal vitamin:
1. Folic Acid
Folic acid is highly beneficial in many ways. It is necessary for neurological growth and development of the child. Prior to conception, women of childbearing age should ingest 400 milligrams of folic acid daily; after conception, the dosage should be increased to at least 600 milligrams. Luckily, most over-the-counter supplement contains an even higher dosage, which is even better.
For pregnant women, 27 milligrams of iron a day is recommended. Iron will help to produce more red blood cells, which in turn generates more blood and improve circulation.
Doctors recommend the consumption of iodine in small doses. Ideally, supplements with 100-150 micrograms of iodine are sufficient. The rest is available through ingesting natural foods in the diet.
4. Vitamin D
The vitamin D in our bodies is essential for the absorption of calcium and the development of our skin. It is recommended to take approximately 20mcg of vitamin D per day.
5. Vitamin A
For healthy eyes, vitamin A is essential. 800-1000 micrograms is enough for a day. It is also important not to exceed the daily upper limit of 3,000 mcg. Vitamin A has been reduced in many supplements or replaced with beta-carotene, a much safer alternative.
6. Vitamin B6
Many anti-morning sickness drugs contain vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) and antihistamines. As a result, this nutrient can help reduce nausea during the first four weeks of pregnancy. According to doctors, 2-3 mg should be enough in a day. You may also want to check out other nutrients such as copper, thiamin, niacin, zinc, and vitamins B and C.
Also known as DHA, is also beneficial to the unborn child. The March of Dimes recommends 200mg of Omega-3 every day. It’s not unusual to find other minerals as well, like fluorine, selenium, magnesium, riboflavin, and algae oil, in a good vegan prenatal vitamin.
Choosing the right prenatal vitamin is imperative to the health of your unborn child. Taking into account the considerations above, you are well-equipped to know what brand to use and how long to use it. The key thing to take away is that you have to stick to the recommended dietary allowances unless otherwise advised by a doctor.
The most important ingredients in vegan prenatal vitamins are folic acid and iron. Remember, vitamins are there to supplement, not substitute natural foods. No matter how healthy your diet is, you still need prenatal vitamins. A baby needs a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow!