Did you know that certain minerals support fetal development and prevent birth defects?
With pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and food cravings, it may be hard to track our nutrients throughout the day. Since your nutrient needs skyrocket during pregnancy, these amounts are harder to reach with just food alone.
Taking prenatal vitamins is a way to ensure that you’re receiving the correct amount of nutrients to support you and your baby. They also help prepare your body for conception and include numerous other benefits.
If you’re interested in learning 7 benefits of prenatal vitamins, then keep reading!
Prenatal vs Postnatal
Prenatal vitamins are taken before and during pregnancy. Getting a regular dosage of folate is recommended before conception. And while you’re pregnant, it’s important to have plenty of iron because it helps transport oxygen to the baby.
Postnatal vitamins, on the other hand, help boost your energy and mood after giving birth. They also assist in lactation for nursing mothers.
Many people stay on their prenatal vitamins after birth but recommended nutrient levels change during the postpartum phase. If you’re breastfeeding, then you’ll need vitamin D3, B vitamins, and iodine.
Though you can get these from foods such as oats, turmeric, and chamomile, these alone won’t support the levels needed for breastfeeding.
Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins
While ensuring the health of the baby is of the utmost importance, it’s crucial for you to stay healthy as well. Maintaining your own health minimizes specific risks for your growing baby. With that said, here are 7 benefits of taking prenatal vitamins:
1. Support of the Spine and Brain Development
Folic Acid is a key mineral when it comes to pregnancy. There are a few different forms of folic acid such as folate and methyl folate.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. It is mostly found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Folic acid is a compound found in fortified foods, such as dietary supplements.
Folate and folic acid both convert to methyl folate.
Folate supports the baby’s brain and spinal cord development within the first four weeks after conception. When your baby receives favorable amounts of folate, there is a lower chance of neural tube defects.
But folate levels take time to build up. If you’re considering having a baby, taking prenatal vitamins in advance help make sure that there is a high amount of folate present when you conceive.
2. Oxygen Transport
Hemoglobin is a protein found in your red blood cells that helps oxygen move through your bloodstream. During pregnancy, your need for iron doubles to account for you and the baby.
This is because iron helps make more blood for you and the baby, which accounts for oxygen transport for both of you. Iron also helps develop the placenta.
Prenatal vitamins are helpful for ensuring that you’re getting the proper daily dosage of iron. Iron deficiencies are common throughout the general population, so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider before pregnancy.
3. Thyroid Support
Just like iron, the need for iodine increases by 50% during pregnancy. Your thyroid is in charge of hormone production and uses iodine to help the process.
The hormones produced by your thyroid control your cardiovascular system and metabolism. And healthy hormone production means better quality eggs. By having higher quality eggs, you reduce the chance of miscarriage and complications. It is also important for men to take vitamins and eat healthy for optimal male fertility.
The easiest way to get more iodine in your diet is to use iodized table salt. But you can’t just rely on salt to receive the optimal amount of iodine. In fact, some healthcare providers may recommend avoiding too much salt to help assist your blood pressure levels.
Using a supplement is the easiest way to get the right amount of iodine you need.
4. Immune Support
When you’re pregnant, it’s hard to take over-the-counter medicine because most of them are off-limits. Not to mention that being sick and pregnant at the same time is quite an awful experience.
Vitamin A and C help support the production of white blood cells to defend against infections. Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy mucosal system while vitamin C supports the immune system.
Though some may rely on orange juice to get their vitamin C, it isn’t an effective method. The high amount of sugar in orange juice makes it easy for glucose to make it into your white blood cells before the vitamin C. But if you take a supplement to get your vitamin C, then you’re not dealing with excess sugars and glucose.
Also, many prenatal vitamins include Zinc, which also helps your overall immunity. Zinc can destroy certain types of bacteria in the body and help produce T-cells and white blood cells.
5. Provides Calcium for Child Development
Calcium is an important nutrient to get whether you’re pregnant or not. It helps improve the strength of your bones and teeth.
Your baby needs calcium to not only support their skeletal structure, but for their heart, nerves, and muscles. Getting a proper amount of calcium reduces the risk of blood clots and an irregular heart rhythm.
And as mentioned before, it’s important for you to stay healthy so that your baby stays healthy. If you do not have enough calcium in your body, your baby will start to draw it from your bones.
Not only will this cause problems in the future, but you may develop preeclampsia and hypertension if you do not have enough calcium in your body. Though calcium can be found in foods such as spinach, it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin to ensure that you’re getting the right dosage.
6. Reduce the Chance of Rickets
Rickets is a condition that occurs when your child has a vitamin D deficiency. It involves weakened and softened bones that lead to fractures and deformities.
As mentioned before, getting the optimal amount of calcium helps increase bone strength. But vitamin D and phosphorus help facilitate calcium absorption.
Rickets is one example of a condition your child may develop without the essential amount of vitamin D. But your child may also experience abnormal bone growth and delayed development without the vitamin D they need.
Vitamin D has also been linked to preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
7. Peace of Mind
At the end of the day, taking prenatal vitamins gives you peace of mind knowing that both your own and your baby’s nutritional needs are being met. Though it is important to have a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes, certain nutritional requirements are higher during this time.
Before pregnancy, one serving of oatmeal, quinoa, or brown rice might’ve been enough for the day. Now that you’re responsible for your child’s health, as well as your own, you need more of those nutrients.
The combination of eating a healthy diet and taking prenatal vitamins is the most optimal during pregnancy. This way, you know that there is no chance of your baby not receiving the essential nutrients that they need.
Citranatal.com has plenty of options to choose from if you want to start taking prenatal vitamins.
When to Take Your Prenatal Vitamins
A good rule of thumb to follow when considering prenatal vitamins is that earlier is better than later. By starting earlier, you have a larger chance of developing the right amounts of vitamins and minerals your body needs to support a baby.
As said before, it takes time for these vitamins and minerals to build up in your bloodstream. Starting prenatal vitamins three months ahead of pregnancy, for example, gives you a great deal of wiggle room before conception.
And if you’re currently pregnant, then take them as soon as possible.
If you’re already using prenatal products, you may be wondering the best times to take them. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Listen to your body
- Take your prenatal vitamins with food
- Avoid taking prenatal vitamins with multivitamins
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to prenatal products. By listening to your body, you can determine if it’ll help more to take them in the morning or at night. Sometimes, you may feel sick taking them in the morning and by switching to nighttime, you may feel a lot better.
It’s important to take your vitamins with food to avoid nausea and stomach aches. On an empty stomach, these vitamins and minerals upset the GI tract.
And finally, there is such a thing as “too much.” If you pair your prenatal vitamin with a multivitamin, you run the risk of consuming too many nutrients. Some vitamins in high doses may cause dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, and more.
Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Though prenatal vitamins are not required, they are helpful in assisting with your pregnancy. Taking prenatal vitamins gives you multiple benefits such as supporting fetal development, reducing the risk of abnormal bone development, and ultimately your peace of mind.
It’s important to not only talk to your healthcare provider before starting your prenatal vitamin but to listen to your body. Don’t do what everyone else is doing without proper research.
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