Prenatal vitamins are an extremely essential part of prenatal care. Prenatal supplements are designed with the special vitamins and minerals that are important not only for the mother but for her unborn child.
Taking prenatal vitamins helps ensure a future mother that she receives all the nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy, especially if she has nutritional deficiencies in her diet.
Pregnancy vitamins have been shown to reduce the risk of birth defects, especially when taken in the first trimester. These prenatal vitamins are rich in elements that pregnant women need. Folic acid, iron and calcium are among the most important components in a good prenatal vitamin.
Folic Acid – reduces the risk of birth defects in the brain and spinal cord, called neural tube defects. Spina bifida is a common neural tube defect that prevents the babies spine from fully closing. During birth, pressure can damage spinal nerves, which can result in mental retardation and/or paralysis.
Neural tube defects almost always develop within the first month of pregnancy, which is why taking prenatal vitamins is especially important as soon as the pregnancy is discovered. This is also why women who are not pregnant, but are planning on it, should take prenatal vitamins as well.
Because half of all pregnancies are unplanned, many physicians recommend a prenatal multivitamin supplement for all women patients of childbearing age.
Natural sources of folic acid include:
• citrus fruits
• green, leafy vegetables
• many enriched grain products (bagels, breads, and cereals)
Calcium – is also very important for the health of mother and baby. Calcium is necessary for bone growth of the baby. Without enough, it is leeched from the mother’s bones and teeth for the developing babies needs, potentially causing cavities and bone density loss. Prenatal vitamins help protect the mother from this happening.
Iron – is also needed in greater quantities by pregnant women than by anyone else. Iron is required by the body to manufacture red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the fetus and mother. Since more oxygen is required by a pregnant woman, more iron is needed as well.
Unfortunately, if a woman is already experiencing morning sickness, prenatal vitamins may worsen the effect. That’s because so many vitamins and minerals can be a little hard to digest. In this case, a prenatal multivitamin should be taken after a meal, or before bedtime with some crackers. If the woman still cannot tolerate it, her doctor may be able to give her another prescription option.
Taking A Prenatal Multivitamin
Taking prenatal vitamins is a wise choice for any expectant mother. They ensure that the mother stays healthy while her body is working extra hard to nourish a growing baby. Prenatal vitamins also help ensure the baby develops healthy and properly. To not take prenatal vitamins would be depriving both mother and baby of something essential.