As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, you really should take prenatal vitamins. You need to give your baby the best start in life, to make sure they are healthy. In an ideal world, you would start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you think about having a baby. But that is not always possible because not all pregnancies are planned.

pregnant lady relaxing

What are prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins or pregnancy vitamins are packed with all of the vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to grow healthy and strong. Taking prenatal vitamins will also help to keep your own body healthy, to carry your baby to term. Although we know that vitamins and minerals are healthy for the baby, do you know why they are important? We wanted to break down the vitamins and explain what they do for you.

Some prenatal vitamins can help relieve symptoms like nausea, leg and muscle cramps and brain fog. They can also help you with low immunity and if you are not able to eat properly. At least you will get your vitamins and nutrients for your baby in tablet form.

Some prenatal vitamins may help relieve nausea, fatigue, leg and muscle cramps, brain fog, and skin irritation. Prenatals may also help prevent low immunity, low appetite, and postpartum depression.

Folic Acid

When you become pregnant, it is important to take folic acid from the moment you find out. This is when your baby develops the important parts of its body including the brain and spine. This develops after the neural tube closes from 4 weeks. So it is important to take folic acid as this is known to help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. 

The recommended amount of folic acid to take is 400 micrograms until you are 12 weeks. You can get this from food like leafy green vegetables and some cereals. But you will never get enough from food alone, that’s why you will need some folic acid supplements.

Calcium

Calcium not only helps to keep your bones healthy, but it also helps your baby to get the right amount of calcium in their body to grow their bones and teeth. Remember, whatever is going in your body, will help your baby. You can get calcium from dairy products but again, if you take a supplement, you know the baby is getting enough.

Iodine

You need iodine for healthy thyroid function during your pregnancy. if you have a lack of iodine, it can cause problems like miscarriage, stillbirth and stunted physical growth. Obviously, these are extreme cases. 

Iodine also helps your babies brain and cognitive development. If you have an iodine deficiency it can lead to developmental delays in your baby.

Iron

You need iron because it helps to produce more red blood cells in your body. These blood cells carry oxygen to your baby so that they can develop properly in your womb. You will also find that pregnancy can take its toll on you and make you tired. This could be because you need an iron boost. So you should take prenatal vitamins as soon as you can, for you and your baby.

Severe anaemia (lack of iron) during pregnancy can end up with your baby not growing properly and being born with a really low birth weight. You can get iron from liver and some green vegetables. But unless you eat these every day, you will still need supplements

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate that you have in your body and your babies body. You can get vitamin D from sunlight and oily food, eggs and red meat. But if you don’t go out in it much, or you are pregnant from September to March you will lose some vitamin D. Although 10 micrograms are recommended, it is difficult to know how much you get from the sun. That’s why supplements are important for your babies health. 

Zinc

Zinc is important for your baby because it helps to develop immunity and resistance to infections. You also need zinc to help your babies nervous system to develop. Although beef, lamb, pork, chicken and turkey are good sources of zinc, it is still better to take supplements, because you won’t eat those foods every day of your pregnancy. 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is good for healthy eyesight and the immune system. Babies that do not get enough vitamin A are at a much-increased risk of blindness and death from infections like measles before they get vaccinated. 

Where To Buy Vitamins

You can buy prenatal vitamins from most drug stores. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor/midwife about the vitamins that you need to take. If you are at high risk of your pregnancy being affected by neural tube defects, then you may need to take a higher dosage. So it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice before you start trying for a baby. 

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