You have a lot of decisions to make when you are trying to conceive and when you are pregnant. You will also have a lot of opinions thrown your way whether you want them or not. How can you discern what information is helpful and what information is junk?
One of the first things you choose even before you are pregnant is which prenatal vitamins to take, but with so much on the market how can you choose? With a baby in your future, you want to start off right. Decisions you make when trying to conceive and when you are pregnant are actually your first parenting decisions. You can totally nail the decision about prenatal vitamins if you sort through all the bad information and get to the heart of the matter.
Prenatal vitamins matter! Of course, you still need to eat a healthy diet and make good choices when trying to conceive, when you are pregnant, and when you are nursing but you still need a high-quality prenatal vitamin to fill in gaps. For example, the recommended level of folic acid that helps prevent neural tube birth defects is close to impossible to get from diet alone.
The neural tube develops in the first 28 days of pregnancy making it crucial to take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily BEFORE becoming pregnant. Prenatal vitamins matter because research has shown what nutrients are key to a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby and we know that getting these nutrients through diet alone is incredibly difficult.
You can know for sure that you are getting the recommended about of vitamins and nutrients because of your prenatal vitamin.
Prenatal Stuff That Matters
You need to make your decision about which prenatal vitamins to take by focusing on the stuff that matters. It doesn’t matter which brand your friend likes, what’s on sale at the grocery store, or how popular a brand might be. Here are the factors that matter when it comes to prenatal vitamins:
- First and foremost, clinical research matters. You don’t need gimmicks. You need proven ingredients that do what they say they will do.
- A good prenatal vitamin should have all key ingredients needed to prepare your body for pregnancy and support a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid – This helps prevents neural tube defects. The neural tube develops at 28 days making it important to take a prenatal vitamin when you are trying to conceive. Once you know you are pregnant, it is too late.
- 400 IU of vitamin D – This vitamin supports bone development, prevents preterm labour. A deficiency of vitamin D is connected to preeclampsia.
- 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium – When your baby is developing, he takes your calcium for his own bone growth so you need more to prevent bone density loss in your own body.
- 70 mg of vitamin C – Vitamin C is needed for your body to make collagen. Collagen is part of our bones and skin.
- 100 mg of choline – This is crucial for brain development and not all prenatal vitamins have this ingredient.
- 80 mcg of K2 – This works with Vitamin D and Calcium to support prenatal skeleton development.
- 3 mg of thiamine – Thiamine is essential for baby’s brain development.
- 2 mg of riboflavin – This promotes your baby’s growth, good vision, and healthy skin. Riboflavin is also essential for your baby’s bone, muscle, and nerve development.
- 20 mg of niacin – Niacin helps with healthy cell development.
- 6 mcg of vitamin B12 – This vitamin may be as crucial as folic acid in preventing neural tube and other neurological defects.
- 10 mg of vitamin E – Deficiency can lead to preeclampsia.
- 15 mg of zinc – Your baby needs zinc for cell growth and for the production and functioning of DNA. Zinc also supports mom’s immune system.
- 17 mg of iron – You and baby need iron to move oxygen through your blood.
- 150 micrograms of iodine – Iodine is needed for the mother’s thyroid function. Low iodine can cause miscarriage and stunted physical growth, severe mental disability, and deafness.
- You need vitamins that won’t upset your stomach. Being pregnant can make you nauseous enough so don’t make the mistake of taking a vitamin that makes nausea worse.
- Prenatal vitamins should be free of extra junk. You want high-quality ingredients without pollutants.
- Convenience matters. A lot of women choose prescription prenatal vitamins but remembering to go somewhere and pick up a prescription can be a pain in the butt. You don’t want to miss a single day when you are TTC or pregnant so picking a prenatal that you won’t forget is key.
Personalize Your Prenatal Vitamins
All women are different. Every pregnancy affects your body differently. What works for one mama might not be the best for another.