Most women know that it is important to eat healthily when they are pregnant because they need additional nutrients whilst carrying their child. However, it is also a good idea for ladies who are looking to conceive to eat well and take prenatal vitamins before their pregnancy too. By doing so, they can build up a reserve of healthy vitamins which will help them get through their pregnancy in optimum health.
There are lots of vitamins which are useful in the prenatal period, but there are five which every woman should definitely be taking if they are pregnant:
Vitamin A is a great vitamin to take prenatally because it helps to maintain healthy cellular function while conceiving. It is also an essential vitamin for bone growth and vision which will help baby to be born fit and healthy.
It is recommended that 5,000 IUs of vitamin A be taken by prenatal and pregnant women, and it is always a good idea to take vitamin A with fat because it will absorb better if taken this way.
Folic acid is a B vitamin which the body needs for growth and development. It is especially important during pregnancy because it can help to prevent a number of birth defects, including neural tube defects which affect the brain and spine, and heart defects.
Women are advised to take 600-800 micrograms of folic acid, each day, before and during pregnancy.
Iron is an important mineral which helps to get oxygen into the bloodstream. When women are pregnant, their blood volume increases by around 50%, so iron is more important than ever. If women do not have enough iron when they are pregnant, they could develop anemia which can result in a preterm birth, an underweight baby, or even miscarriage.
The recommended daily amount of prenatal and pregnancy iron is 27-30 mg, and it is a good idea to take liquid iron supplements which are plant based because these are less likely to cause problems like constipation.
You’re probably already aware that calcium is brilliant at building strong and healthy bones, but it is used for so much more than that. Calcium helps the body with hormone secretion, muscle and blood vessel contraction, and nerve conduction which makes it a great all-round prenatal vitamin.
1,200-1,500 micrograms of calcium a day is the recommended daily amount for prenatal and pregnant women, but much of this can be obtained from foods, including dairy and fish. If you cannot get enough calcium from your diet, a good supplement should be taken.
Zinc is a very important mineral which aids in protein synthesis, healthy growth and blood clotting. The mineral is also essential if you wish to have a strong immune system, great vision and the ability to heal wounds quickly, but the reason zinc is so important prenatally is that it controls DNA function. DNA works to build new cells for babies when they are in their mother’s womb, so a good reserve of the mineral will help baby to grow and thrive.
11-14 milligrams of zinc per day is all that is needed for a healthy pregnancy.
It is possible to take a multivitamin which contains most, if not all of these vitamins and minerals, but it is usually a good idea to take supplements separately because many vitamins and minerals are more easily absorbed when taken alone.
If you are in doubt about how to take vitamins and minerals safely, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.