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What To Look For In Your Prenatal Multivitamin

May 21, 2018

What To Look For In Your Prenatal Multivitamin

The first thing most pregnant women, or women who are trying to conceive, think about is the nutrients in their diet. And for good reason. Most of the important parts of a baby's development happen while they're in the womb.

The proper diet and nutrition should be your top priority in these important stages of your and your developing baby's life.

It's hard to know for sure if you're eating the right amount of the right foods. And sometimes you could have a perfect diet and still fall short, or have such extreme nausea that it doesn't matter.

That's where a prenatal multivitamin comes in. Read on to find out everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins and the role they play in supporting your healthy pregnancy.

Are Prenatal Multivitamins Different?

Yes. There are two big differences between your regular multivitamin and a prenatal vitamin: they both contain more folic acid and iron.

Folic acid is absolutely essential to prevent defects in your growing baby's brain and spinal cord, and iron helps your baby grow and develop.

Of course, there are other differences as well, but folic acid and iron are the main components that make them different from a regular daily vitamin.

When Should I Take One?

Many people think they don't need to take prenatal vitamins until they are pregnant. But when you are trying to conceive, those nutrients are also vital.

Generally, it's a good idea for all women of reproductive ages to take a prenatal vitamin regularly. The most important parts of baby's development start before you even know you're pregnant.

Are There Side Effects?

The most common issue many women face when they start a regime of prenatal vitamins is constipation or nausea. In order to prevent this, drink lots of water and take it with a healthy meal.

Taking your prenatal vitamin before bed is another way to fend off nausea. You could also try to do some light exercising if your doctor gives you the green light to do so.

Do I Need a Prescription?

Generally, no. Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter and are perfectly safe to take.

However, in some cases, your doctor might give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin that is higher in certain vitamins or minerals than others.

When Do I Stop Taking My Prenatal Multivitamin?

You should continue to take your prenatal vitamin through your entire pregnancy. And if you're breastfeeding, you should continue to take it well after your baby is born.

There are also additional breastfeeding supplements you can consider, but oftentimes a simple prenatal vitamin can give you the added boost of nutrition that you need.

What to Look For in a Prenatal Vitamin

Look for a prenatal vitamin that includes at least:

  • 400 mcg of folic acid
  • 17 mg of iron
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 mg of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 20 mg of niacin
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 150 mcg of iodine

It's important to remember when searching for a prenatal vitamin that not all prenatal multivitamins are the same. A recent study concluded that out of 9 prescription vitamins, only 3 released the amount of folate they contained in them.

Just because a vitamin is listed on the package doesn't mean your body can absorb it.

Keep in mind that just because a vitamin is a prescription, doesn't mean it's the better vitamin.

How Do I Know That It's Right for Me?

When you're trying to pick your prenatal multivitamin, talk to your doctor or your midwife for their suggestions. They will have your recent blood results from the lab and they know your specific situation.

Everyone reacts to medication a little differently, so what worked for your friend might not work the same way for you.

Prenatal Vitamins Aren't Cure-Alls

You can't rely on your prenatal vitamin to do all of the heavy lifting for you in terms of getting adequate nutrition in your pregnancy. There is only so much a supplement can do.

It's important that you still receive regular medical attention and eat healthy meals in order to get the most of your nutrients. Your prenatal vitamin is only there to help you along and fill in the gaps where needed.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

When you're looking for a prenatal, try to remember that:

  • You can't get all the calcium you need from a pill
  • Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects. 10,000 IU or less is all a prenatal vitamin should contain
  • Your body will not absorb iron if there's too much in your pill

There is so much that goes into a pregnancy, it can get a little overwhelming. That's why your doctor is there. If there's ever a doubt about what medications you're taking, if they're prenatal vitamins or something else entirely, bring them in with you to your next health care appointment.

A Healthy Start

Taking the right prenatal vitamin is the one way you can be assured that you're giving your baby the best start in life possible. Nutrients are key in these early stages of life!

And prenatal vitamins aren't all the supplements that are available to you. Talk to your doctor about other nutritional supplementsyou can take to give yourself the peace of mind needed. Pregnancy is stressful enough!

We all want what's best for our children every step of the way. Don't make this decision too difficult! Shop our selection of prenatal vitamins today to ensure that you give yourself and your baby the best nutrition possible.

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