Like most expecting moms, you’ve probably heard about how important it is to take prenatal vitamins. As soon as you find out that you’re pregnant your doctor will recommend taking prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins are the foundation of a healthy pregnancy. Even if you eat a healthy diet you may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Vitamins can help fill that nutrition gap.
Whether you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant or you’re planning to conceive, you should know these 5 things about prenatal vitamins.
1. Check for Quality and safety
Any natural health products that are sold must have a Natural Product Number (NPN) before they are allowed on the market. When picking a prenatal vitamin, look for this number. This number tells the consumer that the product has been assessed to be safe, effective, and of high quality.
Natural health products are regulated as foods and not drugs. Natural health products do not need to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it’s up to the manufacturer to ensure quality. As a consumer, it is best to do research before committing to a Prenatal Vitamins such as talking to your healthcare professional.
2. Check for key Nutrients
A prenatal vitamin is intended to help meet mom’s growing nutritional needs and complement a healthy well-balanced diet.
Look for a prenatal supplement that contains key nutrients as recommended by the Institute of Medicine, like folate, iron, iodine and vitamin D, which help support baby’s development. Calcium is also important but generally, needs to be met through diet or additional supplementation.
3. Check for Brand
Prenatal vitamins are available over-the-counter in nearly any pharmacy. Your health care provider might recommend a specific brand of prenatal vitamins or leave the choice up to you. Generally, look for a prenatal vitamin that contains:
• Folic acid
• Vitamin D
It also might be beneficial to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, iodine, and copper.
4. Quantity of Prenatal vitamin
A common myth about prenatal vitamin supplementation is that the more you have, the healthier you and your baby will be but this is not true.
Each pregnant woman should plan her supplementation in close consultation with a doctor and remain conscientious of the actual effects of supplements on her day-to-day well-being.
5. When to Start Taking Parental vitamin
Ideally, you’ll start taking prenatal vitamins before conception. In fact, it’s generally a good idea for women of reproductive age to regularly take a prenatal vitamin. The baby’s neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you’re pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins are excellent sources of important nutrients for the mother and the baby. Of course, you should include fresh and nutritious food in your diet as well and not solely depend on vitamins.
If these tips don’t seem to help, ask your healthcare provider about other options. He or she might recommend another type of prenatal vitamin or separate folic acid, calcium with vitamin D, and iron supplements.