One of the first recommendations most pregnant women get from their doctor or midwife is to begin taking prenatal vitamins. In fact, some doctor’s actually recommend taking vitamins while you are trying to get pregnant in order to prevent certain birth defects.
While taking vitamins during pregnancy and breastfeeding protects you and your baby from nutrition deficiencies, they are not miracle pills. Vitamins alone can not provide you with all the nutrients you need during pregnancy. It is vital that you also maintain a healthy diet, with plenty of variety, while taking prenatal vitamins. In fact, most vitamins work best as a supplement to a good diet.
It is also important to know that not all prenatal vitamins give you everything you need. Pregnant women generally need between 1,200 and 1,500 mg of calcium a day yet the average prenatal vitamin contains only 250 mg. Therefore it is important that you drink enough milk or consume enough dairy products to meet your daily calcium needs. Some prenatal vitamins can also give you too much of a good thing. Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects, so it is crucial to make sure that your vitamin contains no more than 10,000 IU. Also, you may want to avoid a vitamin with too much iron as that will not absorb properly.
When it comes to choosing a prenatal vitamin, prescription is not always best. There are plenty of over the counter vitamins available, some of which are actually preferable to prescription vitamins. The key is making sure that whichever vitamin you take works best for you. Every woman is different and not all women can tolerate the taste and texture of all prenatal vitamins. If you have trouble keeping your vitamins down, consider changing to another brand.
Prenatal vitamins are an important element in a healthy pregnancy. Make sure to get your pregnancy off to a good start by consulting with your doctor or midwife and determining which vitamin works for you. And don’t forget to maintain a well balanced diet and a regular exercise routine as well. The more you can do to insure good health now, the better for you and your baby in the long run.