Whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning on becoming pregnant, or approaching nearly every phase in a woman’s life you are heavily encouraged to take prenatal vitamins. They have become akin to a woman’s life source, doctors, nurses, midwives, and friends all push the importance of these little pills. But what exactly is so special about prenatal supplements? Do they really pack that much of a health punch? Can you have a healthy pregnancy without them? Yes, you could technically have a healthy pregnancy without taking vitamins, providing you eat a nearly perfect diet. The sad truth is that many women don’t reach their daily nutritional goals which is why vitamins have become essential.
A woman who takes vitamins during the early months of pregnancy drastically reduces the chances of fetal disorders. Breastfeeding which often strips many women of their vitamin stores can be easier on a new mother’s body if she is taking a daily vitamin supplement.
Here is a little Preview of exactly what those little pink pills are providing:
Folic Acid- Essential for Brain Development, Also helps in promoting Fertility
“The March of Dimes reports that birth defects of the spine, skull, and brain, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, are more likely to occur if the mother does not get sufficient folic acid during the first few weeks of her pregnancy – even before she knows she is pregnant.” (Article Base)
Calcium- Important for preventing PreEclampsia (High Blood Pressure) and healthy growth, lowers chances of premature birth.
Magnesium-Promotes healthy Bone structure and Cell Growth.
Iron- Helps deliver Oxygen from the Blood from mother to baby. Low Iron can lead to birth defects and anemia.
Vitamin A- Supports the genes that determine the development of organs.
Vitamin C- Promotes tissue repair and healing, helps the absorption of Iron, good for strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D-Healthy Bone Structure and Milk Production
B-Vitamins- Can prevent neural tube defects in early pregnancy. Boosts immunity.
B1 and B2-Helps to process all that nutritious food you are eating
“Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps to regulate your body’s adrenal activity and antibody production. If you are pregnant and don’t get enough B5, your baby’s growth may be slowed.” (Article Base)
Vitamin B6/B12- Building Blocks of Baby’s nervous system.
Biotin- 50% of pregnant women are deficient in this nutrient.
Zinc- Vision, Immunity, Fertility in Adults and healthy fetal growth.
I hope you can see from this list how important taking prenatal vitamins can be. Whether you are taking a generic vitamin or getting a prescription it is essential to take you vitamins every day. Remember that taking a vitamin doesn’t give you clearance to eat unhealthy. You still need a balanced diet full of folic acid rich foods, like green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Women who are vegetarian/vegan may need to speak with their doctor about an extra B12 shot since protein from animal products are the main source of this nutrient. Don’t take more than is recommended, taking more won’t make you healthier, but it may cause you to have a reaction to the high Iron content of the vitamin.
Here is an example of the kind of things you can expect from a good vitamin:
All this information was to tell you to take your vitamins. No matter what stage of life you are they can help your body function properly and keep you ahead of the curb on the nutrient scale.