Daily vitamins and supplementation are a great tool when we are dealing with health conditions or simply feel that we aren’t getting enough from our diets. Some of us will take the odd one now and then while others have a much stricter regime. But what about prenatal vitamins, are these essential and what benefits can we gain from them?
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Let’s start with the basics here. If this is your first pregnancy and you have limited experience with pregnant people, the idea of prenatal vitamins may be foreign. Essentially, these are the vitamins you are recommended to take during pregnancy to maintain not just the health and development of the baby, but your own well-being. There are certain nutrients with deficiency risks while pregnant and others that are essential for your child. The right dose of each can help prevent serious illness, complications, and even birth defects.
The problem for new parents is that there are many “helpful” friends and family talking about what they did and what you should take that it all sounds over-complicated and hard to handle. First of all, the best person to take advice from is your doctor to deal with issues specific to your pregnancy. Secondly, you should find some great products with pretty much everything in one capsule.
So, what are the best prenatal vitamins to take, why are they so important, and should you worry if you miss one or accidentally take 2 prenatal vitamins on the same day. Let’s start with why they are so important before we look at some of the best supplements for pregnancy.
The Benefits Of Prenatal Vitamins.
Many people will willingly take all the prenatal vitamins they need to help protect their unborn child. There are nutrients that we need in greater numbers when nourishing this new life in the womb that we might not get from a diet alone. Supplementation can help with their growth and development, while also reducing the risk of neural tube defects and other birth defects.
Then there are the benefits for your own health and well-being during the pregnancy. We give a lot physically to our unborn babies, and this can lead to deficiencies and weaknesses. Many find they have weaker bones due to a lack of calcium or a lack of iron in the blood. So, the right vitamins should help keep us at our best, allowing for a healthier pregnancy and a greater chance of natural birth.
When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
There are different factors to consider when it comes to taking prenatal vitamins. There are many doctors and guides that talk about the importance of starting certain courses of vitamins before becoming pregnant. The idea here is that it helps prepare the body and improves your chances of a healthy pregnancy and fetus. This is a good idea for those planning to get pregnant, but not so relevant when it is unplanned.
Whatever the circumstances of the pregnancy, it is a good idea to start your course of prenatal vitamins as soon as possible. You can talk about your best options with your doctor during your first consultation and start straight away. The sooner you do so, the better the chance of achieving those benefits mentioned above.
Then there is the factor of changes to your regime. You may not find yourself taking the same nutrients or the same dosages across the whole 9 months. Potential illnesses and complications could lead to a need for adaptations. It is important to talk to your doctor if you feel something isn’t right and to switch to those recommended changes as soon as possible.
Tell Me The Best Prenatal Vitamin.
The best and most important prenatal vitamins are folic acid and iron. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects and abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. So, regular use of folic acid supplements from the start of pregnancy can help prevent some serious disabilities. There is also the recommendation to start taking it 3 months before becoming pregnant, but this only works for planned pregnancies. If this is accidental, albeit welcomed pregnancy, try and start on a course of taking folic acid ( b vitamin) as soon as you become aware.
Iron is another essential mineral for pregnancy because of its impact on the oxygen supply in your bloodstream. You need to be able to pump a lot of oxygen and red blood cells into your womb to support the fetus and the placenta. In doing so, you could end up with deficiencies yourself without supplementation, running the risk of anemia. Both iron and folic acid are available as stand-alone supplements where you can adjust the dose based on your doctor’s recommendations. Something to keep in mind here is that too much iron can irritate your stomach and cause nausea.
What Other Nutrients Should I Look For In Pregnancy Supplements?
The best prenatal supplements have a wide range of helpful ingredients to cover all kinds of potential issues. You should look out for anything that contains calcium and vitamin D for bones and teeth, vitamin C for immune support, b vitamins, zinc, and iodine, Some doctors may recommend omega-3 fatty acids too, as they can be very helpful for brain function – both for you and your child. This will depend on your diet, however. It may not be necessary if you have a diet with a lot of oily fish already.
On this note, we can’t overlook the importance of a good diet when it comes to our health and that of the unborn child during pregnancy. As this guide shows, it is important to bring all the best prenatal care into your regime as possible to avoid the risks of illness and birth defects. But, those supplements shouldn’t do all of the heavy liftings. A good diet with the right RDA of vitamins and minerals, and the avoidance of any dangerous foods, is just as important.
What Vitamins Not To Take While Pregnant.
The majority of vitamins are safe to take in the correct dosages and will be fine when in a multivitamin supplement. As mentioned before, the bigger issue here is if you are already supplementing something as you don’t want to take too much. The exception to the rule is Vitamin A. This supplement can be dangerous at high levels as there are links to stunted fetus development. Doctors advise avoiding multivitamins with this substance to reduce the risk, as you may get more than enough from other sources.
Away from some of the more standard vitamins and minerals, you may have to reconsider any herbal supplements and alternative therapies just in case there is something that could be harmful. For example, while many swear by ginger and drink ginger tea for morning sickness, you should avoid anything with a long list of botanicals. Yarrow and angelica are among those seen as unsafe. Your best approach is to stop taking anything and ask your doctor.
Staying On Track With Your Prenatal Vitamins.
Because prenatal vitamins are so important, it is common for parents-to-be to get a little panicked when they don’t take theirs “correctly”. This could either mean missing a day or finding you accidentally took 2 prenatal vitamins in one day. The good news is that neither scenario is a major issue as long as it doesn’t happen a lot. Let’s look at both situations now.
Missing Prenatal Vitamin And What To Do About It.
Maintaining the right dose of prenatal vitamins is important to make sure that you keep up with the needs of you and your baby. However, you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much if things go wrong. There is always going to be the chance that you forget to take one, either due to “baby brain” or a busy schedule. Perhaps you are staying over at someone else’s house and the routine is a little off.
The worst thing that you can do here is getting stressed about it as this won’t help your mental health or blood pressure. If you miss one occasionally, you shouldn’t see much of a problem because of what you obtain through the rest of the week. However, if you regularly find yourself forgetting your prenatal vitamins, there could be a bigger problem in the long run.
There are things that you can do to make sure that you don’t forget too often. It is a good idea to have a pill organizer by the bed and maybe an alarm on your phone to remind you to take your medication. You might think that these tools are primarily for seniors, but there is no reason why we can’t take advantage of them too.
If you live with your partner or another relative or friend, talk to them about your supplements and have them remind you to take them. Some people that are especially bad at remembering to take pills will leave them in the hands of a reliable partner. Here they are physically handed the pill and a glass of water and told to take it. This won’t suit everyone, but it can be just what some people need. It also gives partners something that can help when they feel a little redundant in the pregnancy journey.
Accidentally Taking 2 Prenatal Vitamins And What To Do About It.
So what about the other side to this messed-up schedule. What if pregnant women accidentally took 2 prenatal vitamins in one day. This is a possibility if you simply forgot that you had already done so. There will be over-eager or anxious parents-to-be that worry that they aren’t doing enough to support their babies and bodies during pregnancy. The logical option here may seem to be to take a supplement if you aren’t sure that you already did, with the idea that it is better to have too much of a vitamin than not enough. But, you then have the stress of finding out that you have taken two.
The good news here is that you can’t actually overdose by taking two rather than one. The toxicity risk of these supplements is so low that you would have to take a lot in one go or regularly take a large amount. Occasionally taking more than one isn’t going to do your baby any harm either. Some of the fat-soluble vitamins will remain in your fat cells, such as any D or K vitamins, but others that are water-soluble should pass through with no ill effect. However, you don’t want to make a habit of it and you will run out faster if you do this too often.
The bigger risk comes if you decide to take a prenatal supplement and other vitamins on top. This is a bad idea if your prenatal supplement contains the right levels of that nutrient already, you could end up with too many vitamins in the body. In most cases, the extra vitamins will leave your system in the form of pee. For example, if you are in the habit of taking vitamin D supplements in the winter for your mood or SAD symptoms, you may be better off without if pregnant during this time. This is where those methods above can help again. Regular scheduling, pill organizers, and partner support can all reduce the risk of taking too much.
Talk To Your Doctor About The Best Prenatal Supplements And Plans.
As with all prenatal healthcare issues, the best thing that you can do in any of these situations is consult your doctor for advice. They can help you determine the best types of supplements for your needs, especially if you exhibit signs of deficiencies or illness along the way and can also advice if you need to avoid certain vitamins. They can potentially increase things like folic acid or iron or fat soluable vitamins as needed and help you create the best schedule of supplementation to avoid any issues.
The idea of starting and maintaining the right course of pre-natal supplements can be daunting for first-time parents. You naturally want to have the perfect dose of everything at the right time to avoid potential complications. But, you can’t get too stressed about doubling up or missing pills either. Go easy on yourself and enjoy the process.