Expectant mothers get bombarded with information about their diets. Nutrients needed and ingredients to avoid are always hot topics. Unfortunately, not all soon-to-be moms have consistently have access to a healthy diet, which is why prenatal pills come into the picture to help fill the nutrient gap. However, not all prenatal multivitamins are healthy; some contain ingredients may not suit a pregnant mother’s health needs. This is why it is so important for you to know more about the prenatal vitamins in the market today to know which ones to take and avoid.
Which Prenatal Pills Do You Need to Take During Pregnancy?
In this article:
The Nutrients You Need
A pregnant woman’s body is thirsty for different types of nutrients that will be important to you and your baby’s nutritional needs. So, what are the supplements you need? For one, every pregnant woman needs to take folic acid as it is important to fetal development and the reduce the risk of spina bifida and neural tube defects. Folic acid is needed for proper neural tube and brain development. You’ll need at least 400 mg of folic acid a day.
Next, you’ll need to take prenatal pills with calcium. Bear in mind that your body has now become a home to a growing fetus, which means your bones need to be stronger. You must also know that whatever calcium you have in your body, your baby will benefit from it first, so you must stock up. Go for calcium supplements with vitamin D since this helps with calcium absorption.
Another important prenatal pill to take while pregnant is iron, and it’s simply because you produce 50 percent more blood when you’re pregnant. As a result, an iron shortage might happen, despite eating your green leafy vegetables and other iron-rich foods. Prenatal pills with iron or separate iron supplements must contain 20 to 30 mg of iron. Together with iron, you can also take iodine. This is because when the blood is low in iron, thyroid problems may occur. The iodine will help prevent this. About 220 mcg of iodine a day will suffice.
Other important ingredients to look for in prenatal supplements include vitamin C to boost your immunity, vitamin E to support your baby’s rapidly-multiplying cell growth, vitamin Bs, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin.
Ingredients to Limit or Avoid
OTC prenatal vitamins may have more of a specific ingredient that’s actually good for you, or they can contain nutrients that aren’t usually recommended during pregnancy.
Do your pre-natal vitamins include vitamin A in its ingredients list? Ask your doctor about it, especially if it’s a high amount. Too much of this nutrient can cause birth defects. In fact, over 10,000 IUs of vitamin A is the specific amount to avoid in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Also, even if you need to take iron, don’t take a prenatal supplement that includes too much of it. Just stick to the recommended dosage, which is 20 to 30 mg. Taking more can lead to constipation, which is another pregnancy issue you don’t want to suffer from.
Finally, discuss any “all-natural” prenatal pill ingredients with your doctor. Some may contain herbs that are controversial in the health community. There are certain herbs that are helpful at the end of pregnancy because they induce labor, but if taken too early, it can to miscarriage. Herbs in this category include blue cohosh and dong quai. Other botanicals are normally mild but can be a problem with expectant moms. These include dandelions and nettles, which are high in vitamin A.
Foods to Avoid While Pregnant
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Mercury in fish may cause birth defects, such as deafness and learning disabilities. So, you might want to avoid fish species containing high levels of mercury like fresh tuna, mackerel, and swordfish. Pacific salmon and Pacific scallops are better choices.
As for beverages, alcohol and caffeine must be avoided. Alcoholic beverages or foods with alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. The disorder causes behavior problems and low birth weight. Hearing and vision loss, along with lowered IQ, can also stem from fetal alcohol syndrome. Further, taking in too much caffeine can mean calcium loss for you and your baby. Very high amounts can lead to miscarriage or low birth weight.
Additionally, pregnant women must be very careful with what they eat and make sure meat, seafood, and poultry are well-cooked. Food poisoning might direct you to an unexpected trip to the E.R. Listeria lurks in meat, smoked seafood, soft cheese, raw milk, and pate. Other ingredients with dangerous bacteria or toxins include undercooked meat and raw seafood. Raw eggs, uncooked cookie dough and cake batter, and unwashed vegetables can also be a problem.
Here’s a video by the Tubtims on her point of view on good vs bad prenatal vitamins:
Regular prenatal visits with your doctor are critical. Blood tests determine if you are deficient or over-your-limit in certain nutrients. She’ll also explain when to take prenatal pills of a certain kind. Your doctor can recommend which will work best for your medical and nutritional needs. And once the recommendation is given, take your prenatal pills religiously to prevent any pregnancy issues later on.
Do you have a list of tried and tested prenatal pills? Let us know in the comments section below.