The Importance Of Prenatal Nutrition
Meeting your daily nutrient needs during pregnancy is necessary to keep up with your rapidly changing maternal metabolism.
Of course, maternal nutrition is essential for healthy fetal growth and development. In fact, theres growing research that suggests the effects of prenatal nutrition can trickle into adulthood.
For that reason, its important to learn about necessary vitamins for pregnant women, as well as additional supplement and macronutrient needs.
Best For Morning Sickness: New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are common occurrences experienced by a large number of women. Ginger has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for numerous ailments, including digestive issues such as nausea.
A systematic review examined the use of ginger for the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and found that ginger significantly improved the symptoms of nausea when compared to a placebo. New Chapters Perfect Prenatal vitamin includes organic ginger in each dose to help ease nausea. This supplement is vegetarian, certified non-GMO, and gluten- and synthetic filler-free.
How Prenatal Vitamins Increase Your Chances Of Pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins that are specifically designed to support womens nutrition when trying to conceive, and once pregnant.
Women trying to conceive and pregnant women need additional nutrients, especially extra Folic Acid and Iron. Today you will learn why prenatal vitamins are so important, when you need to start taking them and how they impact your fertility.
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Tips On Use And Storage
Always check with your doctor first, especially about how much to take, Jones advises. Good rules to follow include:
- Dont go over your recommended Daily Value for vitamins and minerals unless your doctor says its OK.
- Multivitamins dont have 100% of your DV for calcium or magnesium. You may need a separate supplement.
- Buy brands with USP, NSF, or another third-party seal of approval.
It may be easier to remember to take your vitamins if you keep them in your bathroom. But light, moisture, and medicine can make a poor combo. Keep your supplements somewhere cool and dry, such as on your dresser.
More Healthy Eating Tips
How much folic acid you need during pregnancy: 400 mcg per day starting at least one month before conception and 400 to 600 mcg from all sources throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding
Best folic acid-rich foods for pregnant women: Oranges, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, kidney beans, nuts, cauliflower, beets
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What About Other Extra Vitamins
A prenatal vitamin includes all the vitamins and minerals a pregnant woman needs. Taking too many vitamins or minerals may harm your baby. For example, large doses of vitamin A may cause birth defects.
Stay safe. If you took special supplements before you got pregnant, don’t take them now unless your doctor approves.
There is one supplement you may want to ask your doctor about even though it is included in most PNV. Omega-3 fatty acids may help your baby’s brain develop. If you don’t eat fish high in omega-3s your doctor may recommend an omega-3 supplement.
When Should You Take Prenatal Vitamins
Folic acid should be started at least one month prior to conception.
It’s best to start taking prenatal vitamins while you’re trying to get pregnant. The birth defects prevented by folic acid happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy — before you even know you’re expecting.
Don’t worry if you didn’t take prenatal vitamins before you got pregnant. Many women havent in the past, and they still had healthy babies. Just start taking them as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
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Vitamins That Help You Get Pregnant Faster
Can the taking of any type of vitamin or supplement actually help you conceive a child faster than those who dont take vitamins? Can vitamins actually increase your fertility? The answer is yes if you ask experts at the Texas Fertility Center. According to fertility specialists, you need a good nutritional status in order to help your body conceive a child. This seems to hold true of both men and women.
For women, it may mean just taking a good prenatal vitamin. Research has indicated that taking a prenatal vitamin can not only decrease your chances of having a preterm birth and decrease your chances of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, but it can maximize your fertility.
In one recent study, women who were trying to get pregnant through fertility treatments got pregnant faster than women who didnt take prenatal vitamins. In fact, the participants who took prenatal vitamins had a doubling of their chances of becoming pregnant when compared to participants who just took folic acid prior to conceiving.
What this means is that it is possible to get pregnant faster if you take a prenatal vitamin, although research hasnt been done on women who arent undergoing fertility treatments and who take a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over the counter and cant hurt you, even if you take them while not pregnant.
These particular vitamins have the ability to enhance your fertility. You can take them alone or as a part of the total prenatal pill package:
What If I Follow A Special Diet
If you are a vegan, a vegetarian, or follow any other kind of special diet due to food intolerances or religious reasons you may not be getting enough of certain nutrients from diet alone. For example, you may find it difficult to get enough iron or vitamin B12 through food alone. Let your doctor know about your dietary habits and she will be able to check what additional supplements you may need to take.
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Best Prenatal Vitamins To Take
There are many different prenatal vitamins to choose from, including those available at a pharmacy or online. A doctor may sometimes prescribe prenatal vitamins to women with particular health considerations.
Typically, a good prenatal vitamin for most women over 19 years of age should contain:
- : 220 mcg during pregnancy and 290 mcg during lactation.
Australian Dietary Guidelines For Pregnancy
recommend these daily servings for pregnant women from the 5 food groups:
|Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat||18 years or under: 3Â½19â50 years: 2Â½||
*Choose canned foods with no added salt.
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Do I Need To Take A Prenatal Vitamin
The jury is out on whether prenatal vitamins are necessary for everybody. Many professionals believe that if you eat a healthy diet and make sure to meet the increased nutrient requirements during pregnancy, then taking a prenatal vitamin is not necessary. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has no specific guidance about whether or not pregnant women need to take a prenatal vitamin but do recommend the vitamins folic acid and calcium. However, most physicians and nutritionists, myself included, agree that taking prenatal vitamins is a good practice in supporting a healthy pregnancy and that they serve an important role in preventing birth defects.
Folic Acid Supplements For Pregnancy
Folic acid plays a vital role in early pregnancy to prevent neural defects and may help reduce the risk of cleft palate2. Women are encouraged to take a 400-microgram folic acid supplement daily when planning a pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you did not take folic acid before becoming pregnant, try not to worry – start taking it as soon as you know youre pregnant up until the end of your first trimester .
If you have any of the following conditions, talk with you GP or midwife as you may need a higher dose of folic acid5:
- Take antiretroviral medications for HIV
- You or the baby’s biological father have a neural tube defect
- You or the baby’s biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
- You have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
Which Prenatal Supplement Is Right For Me
To choose the best supplement for you, consult with your doctor first. They will need to assess your current nutrition levels and identify any deficiencies present. They will need to take into account your dietary restrictions, if any. For example, vegetarians may struggle more with iron and vitamin B12 levels. Based on all of these factors, you and your doctor can choose the best supplement for you.
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Tips For Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Suspicious that your prenatals are upsetting your stomach? There are ways you can minimize some of the more unpleasant effects.
- Ask your doctor about switching to another brand. Sometimes, a prenatal is formulated in a way that just doesnt sit right with you.
- Try a different method. Prenatals are often available as capsules, beverages, gummies, and even protein shakes and ingesting them differently can aid the digestive process. Try switching from one large capsule to three gummies per day or splitting up two doses 12 hours apart.
- Drink lots of water before and after. If youre having constipation, make sure you keep your GI system flushed out. You can also add a fiber supplement if youre really feeling backed up .
- Experiment with food. If your vitamins are making you nauseated, try taking them with or without food. For some people, taking vitamins on an empty stomach is irritating others find that they can only take them on an empty stomach.
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Other Vitamins And Nutrients
Aside from folic acid, several other key nutrients can benefit pregnant and breastfeeding women and developing fetuses. These include:
Iron: Pregnant women need about twice the usual recommended amount of the mineral iron. Iron is another crucial component in red blood cells. Pregnant women who do not get enough iron may develop iron-deficiency anemia.
Zinc: Supports the immune system and helps the body make proteins, divide cells, and synthesize DNA for new cells.
Vitamin B-12: Helps the body make healthy red blood cells and neurons, which are the specialized cells found in the spinal cord and brain. B-12 also helps these cells to function properly.
Calcium and vitamin D: Work together to help develop fetal bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also crucial for healthy eye and skin development. Calcium may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a leading cause of illness and death in pregnant women, and newborns.
Vitamin A: Helps cells grow and differentiate, contributing to the healthy development of vision and many vital organs.
Iodine: A trace element essential for the development of the central nervous system, brain, and skeletal system. Severe iodine deficiencies in pregnant women may slow fetal growth or cause neurodevelopmental defects, stillbirth, or miscarriage.
Record Menstrual Cycle Frequency
A woman who wants to have a baby should monitor whether the first days of her periods tend to occur the same number of days apart every month, which is considered regular. Conversely, her periods may be irregular, meaning her cycle lengths vary from month to month. By tracking this information on a calendar, a woman can better predict when she might be ovulating, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine. This is the time every month when her ovaries will release an egg. There are also some apps that can help with the tracking, such as GlowOvulation period tracker .
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Vegetarian Vegan And Special Diets In Pregnancy
A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should provide enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy.
But you might find it more difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12.
Talk to a midwife or doctor about how to make sure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients.
If you’re vegan or you follow a restricted diet because of a food intolerance or for religious reasons, talk to a midwife or GP.
Ask to be referred to a dietitian for advice on how to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.
Find out more about healthy eating if you’re pregnant and vegetarian or vegan.
Supplements To Take During Pregnancy
In addition to the vitamins and nutrients discussed above, here are two of the best supplements to take while pregnant.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Doctors will often encourage their pregnant patients to take a fish oil supplement. Heres why.
Why theyre important: Omega-3 fatty acid stores tend to deplete quickly throughout pregnancy. Fortunately, omega-3 fatty acids provide DHA, one of its most biologically active acids.
DHA can help ease the risk for an early preterm birth . Additionally, low DHA levels can influence changes in brain function. Consequently, this can lead to genetic variations, decreased learning abilities, and impaired vision.
The benefits of taking omega-3 fatty acid extend to postnatal nutrition, too. Researchers suggest that rapid depletion of fatty acids during pregnancy and breastfeeding can contribute to the baby blues. In turn, taking this healthy omega can have a positive influence on maternal well-being.
Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- cold-water fish
- plant oils
The ACOG recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat at least two servings of fish or shellfish per week. However, pay special attention to avoid raw or undercooked fish. Additionally, you should also avoid fish with high mercury levels while pregnant.
That said, talk to your doctor about incorporating a high-quality fish oil supplement into your prenatal plan if you suspect youre getting enough DHA.
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What Foods Contain Folic Acid
Folic acid is added to foods that are refined or processed :
- Breakfast cereals
- Breads and pasta
- White rice
Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration has required food manufacturers to add folic acid to processed breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pastas, rice, and other grains.9 For other foods, check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to see if it has folic acid. The label will also tell you how much folic acid is in each serving. Sometimes, the label will say “folate” instead of folic acid.
Dont Forget These Other Sperm
These other fertility foods may also belong on the menu when youre trying to conceive:
- Oysters. Were not sure if oysters are an aphrodisiac, but we do know that their zinc content pumps up the production of sperm and testosterone. If your partners not a fan, he can get his share of zinc from lean beef, poultry, dairy, nuts or eggs, though oysters have the highest concentration of this nutrient.
- Fruits and veggies. Produce is rich in the vitamins that can help protect sperm from cellular damage. He can get folate from leafy greens men who dont get enough of this B vitamin tend to have sperm with abnormal chromosomes. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and berries provide vitamin C, which can boost sperm quality. Carrots, red peppers and apricots have lots of vitamin A, which keeps sperm from getting sluggish. Sweet potatoes are rich in all three folate, A and C!
- Pomegranate juice may up sperm count and quality, per some animal studies. While it remains to be seen if it has the same effects on humans, you can always try swapping out the usual morning glass of OJ.
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Important Vitamins And Minerals Before Conceiving:
- Folic acid is most important before conceiving, and in the early stages of pregnancy. This is when the bulk of neural tube formation occurs.
- Zinc, vitamin D and iron are often deficient in adults and are useful in increasing fertility, so likewise, these would be very beneficial before conceiving to increase your chances of success as well as contribute to producing a healthy baby.
Can Prenatal Vitamins Increase The Chances Of Pregnancy
Over-the-counter prenatal vitamins have witnessed an upsurge in their popularity in the past few years.
This is because of the various advantages they succeed in providing.
According to WebMD, these benefits range from combatting congenital diseases in babies to ensuring their optimum growth.
Another advantage of using prenatal vitamins is that they tend to increase the chances of pregnancy.
As per Larissa Belanger, consuming prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant allows your body to be ready with all the nutrients that are required to develop the various organs of the baby.
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