A healthy balanced diet is very essential more so during pregnancy. In order to help cover any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet, prenatal vitamins play a vital role. The prenatal vitamins contain vitamins as well as minerals. The iron, calcium, folic acid and iodine present in them are very important.
Iron, Calcium & Folic Acid
Neural tube birth defects which affect the brain and spinal cord of the fetus can be prevented by taking folic acid. The birth defects of the neural tube can develop within 28 days after conception before many women know that they are pregnant.
As most of the pregnancies are unplanned, doctors usually recommend women who can get pregnant to take folic acid about 400 mg daily. It is best to take folic acid before conception till the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or as recommended by a doctor. If a woman has already had given birth to a baby with neural birth defect, then a different dose may be suggested by the doctor.
Folic acid is also present in certain foods. These include citrus fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables, beans and many fortified foods.
During pregnancy, the baby uses the mother’s calcium for its bone growth. Hence calcium is very important for pregnant women in order to prevent losing their bone density.
For the healthy functioning of the thyroid during pregnancy, iodine is very important for a woman. Iodine deficiency may lead to deafness, mental disability and stunted physical growth. It may also lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.
In both mother and the baby, iron helps the blood to carry oxygen.
What to look for while choosing Prenatal Vitamins
Make sure your prenatal vitamins includes the following:
- Folic acid – 400 mcg
- Vitamin D – 400 IU
- Calcium – 200 to 300 mg
- Vitamin C – 70 mg
- Thiamine – 3 mg
- riboflavin – 2 mg
- Niacin – 20 mg
- Vitamin E – 10 mg
- Vitamin B12 – 6 mcg
- Iron – 17 mg
- Zinc – 15 mg
- Iodine – 150 mcg
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe prenatal vitamins of a certain type.
Can Prenatal Vitamins cause Nausea
Some pregnant women experience nausea during pregnancy. These prenatal vitamins can also cause nausea in such women. If that is the case, talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe chewable or liquid form of prenatal vitamins instead of the tablet form that you have to swallow.