Prenatal Vitamins FAQ
Go To: Top 10 Prenatal Vitamins
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamin supplements are usually a range of multivitamins that are specifically formulated to cater to women who are either trying for a baby, currently pregnant, or nursing their newborn; most prenatal supplements provide nutrients suitable for women in all three stages.
Staple ingredients in the prenatal vitamins are things like folic acid and iron, but there are a range of specific vitamins and minerals that have proven to be especially beneficial to pregnant women.
Production of Prenatal Vitamins
As mentioned above, prenatal vitamin supplements are very similar to multivitamins in that they contain many of the same ingredients but in different dosages and ratios to one another.
One major example of the way vitamins are dosed differently in prenatal supplements is Vitamin A. It can be very easy to take too much Vitamin A and cause a condition known as hypervitaminosis A, so many prenatal vitamin supplements will include a reduced dose of this and other nutrients.
What Types of Prenatal Vitamins are There?
The majority of prenatal vitamin supplements follow more or less the same kind of formulation, with some minor differences in dosages depending on which brand you eventually opt for.
The specific nutrients that you can expect to find in specially formulated prenatal vitamin supplements are things like:
- Folic Acid
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (particularly DHA)
If your folic acid requirements are particularly high then it would be advisable to speak to your doctor regarding obtaining a prescription for the more bioavailable form of folic acid known as 5-MTHF.
This is generally considered to be a safer route than taking extra high doses of prenatal vitamins because of the potential for consuming excessive quantities of the aforementioned Vitamin A.
You will also be pleased to know that there are a number of different prenatal vitamin supplements formulated to different levels of potency, so if you find it difficult to stomach one brand that then it may be worth trying another to see how well you tolerate it.
How Do Prenatal Vitamins Work and What are the Benefits?
Prenatal vitamin supplements work by providing expecting mothers with a range of essential vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be impossible or impractical to source from food alone.
Folic acid works wonders in improving the health of your baby’s brain and spinal cord by preventing neural tube birth defects.
These types of defects can exist as early as a few weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, and this is often long before she knows that she is pregnant. With this in mind it is a very good idea for you to take folic acid if you think you could become pregnant or if you are proactively attempting to conceive a child; this will provide some highly valuable health insurance further down the line.
Iron is a mineral that we are all familiar with, and its role in the formulation of blood cells is an important part of supplying oxygen-rich blood to both mother and baby throughout the entire pregnancy.
As your baby grows inside of you it will begin to use the calcium in your body for the development and growth of bones and other tissues. For this reason it is important that you use a prenatal vitamin supplement that contains calcium as this will help to protect your own bone density as your baby develops.
In addition to these nutrients you will also find other ingredients such as iodine, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin D, all of which play a number of crucial roles throughout the human body.
Everything from hormonal regulation to immune function and the day-to-day growth and repair of cells and tissues can be bolstered by the use of prenatal vitamins, making them a must-have for any pregnant woman.
Related: Top 10 Multivitamins for Women
Who Can Benefit from Using Prenatal Vitamins and How?
By now the answer to this question should be quite obvious.
Prenatal vitamin supplements can be useful before, during, and after pregnancy, helping pregnant women and new mothers to obtain a far broader spectrum of important nutrients than they would ever be able to get simply from relying on whole food sources.
Do Any Foods Contain the Nutrients Found in Prenatal Vitamins? Which Ones are the best?
Foods containing folic acid include:
- Leafy Greens
- Citrus Fruit
Aside from this, a well-balanced diet with ample quantities of protein, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of carbohydrates should provide you with an appropriate array of nutrients to complement any prenatal vitamins that you use.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Have any Side Effects?
The most important thing when using a prenatal vitamin supplement is to ensure that you follow the usage guidelines to the letter, never exceeding the recommended dose.
There are some of vitamins contained in multivitamin supplements that can be extremely harmful to unborn and newborn infants in excess.
If you require additional quantities of a specific nutrient (such as Folic Acid) than either purchase a stand-alone supplement for this or speak to your doctor about obtaining a prescription.
As with any dietary supplement or manipulation, we recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult their doctor or physician prior to use. This also applies to people under the age of 18 and individuals who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or who are taking any kind of prescription medication.
Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.
How and When Should I Use Prenatal Vitamins?
Different prenatal vitamin supplements will come of different guidelines in terms of when they are to be used, but it is generally a good idea to consume them with food unless advised otherwise.
Looking at the bigger picture we can see that prenatal vitamins are suitable for use during all stages of pregnancy, but in the interest of thoroughness make sure you look at the label on your supplement to determine whether or not it is designed for use during the stage you are currently in.
How Many Should I Take?
As mentioned above, always refer to the manufacturers guidelines on the bottle of any prenatal vitamins that you purchase. Never exceed the recommended dose.
Your doctor should be your first port of call for any questions you have regarding the suitability of a particular prenatal vitamin supplement.
Related: Best Supplements for Women
What Should I Do If My Prenatal Vitamin Supplement Makes Me Nauseous?
Nausea is a common complaint reported by many pregnant women upon first using a prenatal vitamin supplement.
If you do experience nausea when using any prenatal vitamins then it is best to discontinue use and speak with your doctor or physician for advice on alternative products you may be able to use.
Prenatal vitamins are available in tablet, capsule, liquid, and even chewable form, so there are many options to choose from if your initial experience with a product is less than stellar.
Please note: This FAQ has not been written or reviewed by a doctor or medical professional and is therefore not to be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease or illness. Nor should it be used as medical reference.