• What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
|What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are supplements which are specially formulated for pregnant women. During pregnancy the body has an increased need for specific nutrients, these nutrients help your baby develop normally. Some are made naturally by the body, others must come from your diet. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can lead to an illness in the mother or birth defects in a growing fetus. Doctors usually recommend prenatal vitamins because most mothers do not eat enough of the right foods to meet their increased nutritional needs. They may prescribe a specific brand, or recommend one you can buy over the counter.
A prenatal vitamin should contain the following vitamins and minerals (folic acid, iron and calcium are particularly important):
Different manufacturers produce different combinations of prenatal vitamins - some for example have higher amounts of iron which are aimed at women prone to anemia (those who entered pregnancy with low iron due to heavy periods or anemia). Always ask your pregnancy healthcare team to recommend a suitable brand for your specific requirements. Don't be tempted to top up a prenatal vitamin with additional supplements - too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Additionally, ensure that your vitamins have the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal of approval. Approval means the supplement meets standards set for the time it takes to dissolve in the stomach - if a vitamin does not dissolve fast enough, we are not able to absorb all the nutrients.
Best Prenatal Vitamins
The American Pregnancy Association promote their own brand of vitamin drink called Prenatal oxylent. You can get a free sample by contacting OXYLENT toll-free on 1-877-699-5368 or visiting www.oxylent.com and entering the promotional code APAOXYLENT to earn 20 percent off your first order. Other popular vitamins (in tablet form) include:
Some women may be tempted to take prenatal vitamins when they are not pregnant because of unproven claims that they strengthen hair and nails. While prenatal vitamins are usually safe for all adult women, they may not be suitable for you if you are not pregnant. They are specially formulated for the nutritional needs of pregnancy, or for women trying to become pregnant. Instead, you should choose a vitamin suitable to your requirements, based on your age, gender and any medical needs. See also, hair loss after pregnancy.
Yes, ideally when preparing for pregnancy you should start taking prenatal vitamins 2 to 3 months before conceiving. Not only will it help protect your baby from birth defects when you do become pregnant, but it may also reduce your risk of morning sickness in the first trimester. And finally the zinc in your vitamin will give your fertility a boost. To avoid overdosing, stop taking any other supplements if you take prenatal vitamins.
If you are breastfeeding, your doctor may recommend continuing to take your prenatal vitamins until your baby is weaned. If you are not breastfeeding, you can switch back to a regular multi-vitamin.
Related Articles on Prenatal Health
For more on conception health, see the following:
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