What Vitamins Should I Be Taking During Pregnancy

Is It Ok To Take Prenatal Vitamins If You Are Not Pregnant

How long should I be taking a prenatal vitamin?

Yes, its OK to take prenatal supplements if youre not pregnant. In fact, experts recommend taking prenatal supplements for at least 3 months before becoming pregnant.

They also recommend continuing to take a prenatal supplement after youve given birth, though there are several products on the market specifically designed for the postnatal period.

Continued Supplementation Throughout Pregnancy

Canadian survey data show that it is difficult for most women of childbearing age to consume enough folate from diet alone to meet their pregnancy needs. Over 75% of non-pregnant/non-breastfeeding women aged 19 50 have intakes less than the Estimated Average Requirement Footnote 10 for pregnancy, 520 mcg of DFEs . To meet folate needs during pregnancy, women should consume a varied diet that provides dietary folate , and continue taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid throughout their pregnancy.

Table I This table charts the sources of dietary folate from different food.


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.

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Important Nutrients During Pregnancy

A healthy diet during your pregnancy will benefit you and promote your babys development. Talk to your doctor about supplements to make sure they’re necessary and safe for you and your baby.Folate or Folic Acid

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. It’s found in many foods. When its a supplement or added to foods, its known as folic acid.Folate helps prevent neural tube defects. The neural tube develops into your babys brain and spine. These birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, often before you know that youre pregnant. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly .Folate is found in different foods, including:

  • Legumes, like peas and dried beans
  • Leafy, dark green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli
  • Whole grains
  • Seafood
  • Fortified foods

If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, you should get 600 micrograms of folate a day. Its hard to get this amount from food, so doctors usually recommend a folic acid supplement.

What Vitamins Should Be Taken During Pregnancy

Vitamins During Pregnancy: Folic Acid

During pregnancy, many changes occur in a woman and the fact that a new being is growing inside her makes it necessary to control the supply of vitamins and minerals.

It is very important to have a healthy and varied diet, to try to supply the number of nutrients that will require this special situation such as pregnancy.

On the other hand, the intake of vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy should always be supervised by a specialist. An excess of these supplements could be detrimental to the proper development of the baby.

Provided bellow is an index with the 10 points we are going to expand on in this article.

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Folic Acid And Folate

Folate is a type of B vitamin that might help to develop the cells in your body necessary for growth and development. The synthetic form of folate that is present in different fortified foods and supplements are known by the name of folic acid.

Folic acid has a plethora of benefits for the pregnant mother and her child.First of all, Folic acid might help to reduce the risk of premature birth. Secondly, folic acid may even work to prevent neural tube defects or NTDs. The Neural tube defect might lead to several defects in the brain, spine and other parts of the baby.

Several pieces of research have even shown how folic acid could prevent several heart defects and even defects related to the babys mouth that is known as cleft lip and palate.

Generally, as a pregnant lady, you might require approx 400 to 1000 micrograms of folic acid before conception and even during pregnancy. You could find folic acid or folate in a number of food items. Some of the good sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, dried beans, citrus fruits, peas and even fortified cereals.

Besides getting folic acid from all these sources, you could also include a prenatal vitamin in your schedule.

Eating the prenatal vitamin before three months of conception may help you to receive all the essential nutrients.

CDC talks more about this one.

Supplements To Avoid While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

While the vitamins and supplements above are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, others should be avoided.

Certain vitamins, plants, and herbs can potentially be harmful while pregnant or breastfeeding. Thats why you must always let your doctor know about any supplements you take.

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Supplements Considered Safe During Pregnancy

Just as with medications, your doctor should approve and supervise all micronutrient and herbal supplements to ensure that theyre necessary and taken in safe amounts.

Always purchase vitamins from a reputable brand that has their products evaluated by third-party organizations like the United States Pharmacopeia .

This ensures that the vitamins adhere to specific standards and are generally safe to take. Not sure which brands are reputable? Your local pharmacist can be a lot of help.

What Happens If You Dont Take Prenatal Vitamins

Vitamins During Pregnancy: Folic Acid | CloudMom

Taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy can help prevent miscarriages, defects, and preterm labor. If youre not taking prenatal vitamins, neural tube defects can appear:

  • Anencephaly: This occurs when the babys skull and brain doesnt form correctly. Babies that are born with anencephaly dont survive.
  • Spina bifida: This occurs when the spine does not form correctly and the baby may have physical disabilities.

Now that we have addressed one of the most asked questions, What happens if you dont take prenatal vitamins?, we can move on to the next section: When to take prenatal vitamins.

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Make Sure Your Supplements Are Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your nutritional needs change and certain nutrients can be harmful if taken in high doses.

To reduce any risks to you and your baby, always choose supplements that are made especially for pregnant women. Let your midwife know if youre taking anything other than prenatal vitamins even some herbal remedies may not be advisable.

How To Take Vitamins During Pregnancy

You shouldnt miss a day without taking vitamins, as this will affect your babys optimal development. Its recommended that you take them in the morning with orange juice or another citrus fruit to aid their absorption. If you notice your stomach is upset after taking them, try to take them with food.

As we mentioned above, its essential that your doctor prescribes the correct amounts of vitamins for you to take. Avoid self-medication, because you could endanger not only your health, but your babys too.

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The Best Vitamins To Take While Pregnant

Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, shares recommended vitamins to take while pregnant. Plus: additional supplements for a healthy pregnancy, other prenatal nutritional needs, and vitamins to avoid during pregnancy.

Is it safe to take vitamins during pregnancy? How about while breastfeeding?

These are two of the most common questions that dietitians get from expectant and new mothers. Its no secret that proper nourishment can better optimize your pre and postnatal care. But exactly which vitamins and supplements should you take during pregnancy?

In this article, were bringing things back to science-backed basics. When it comes to supplements and pregnancy, heres the information you need to have a safe and healthy term.*

*This information should not be used in lieu of professional medical advice. Always follow guidance from your OB-GYN and/or primary care physician.

Which Vitamin Supplements Should Be Taken In Pregnancy

What vitamins should I take during pregnancy

Recommendations for routine nutritional supplementation vary in every country/ region. Therefore, local guidance should be followed as advised by healthcare professionals and the local governments.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to ensure all the nutritional requirements are met. No vitamin or nutritional supplement can replace a healthy balanced diet.

Why the vitamin andother nutritional supplements are advised?

1. Supplements can ensure that the increased dailyrequirements of some key essential vitamin and mineral are met to prevent certain pregnancy complications.

2. To treat some nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy.

Always check with your healthcare provider that any vitamin/nutritional supplement is safe for you to ensure:

1. You are not taking an excessive amount which can cause an overdose/ toxicity

2. You do not have any medical condition where it is notsafe to take any specific supplement.

3. You are taking the right dose of the supplement. Incertain medical conditions, you may need to take higher doses of vitamin/nutritional supplement.

Please remember, if you are on a special diet then you may need additional nutritional supplements over and above the routine ones.

What vitamin andmineral supplements are advised?

As discussed, the recommendations vary from one country/ region to the other.

For example, in the UK, for an otherwise healthy pregnant woman, the only supplementation of Folic Acid and Vitamin D are advised.

Folic acid

Vitamin D


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Are Prenatal Vitamins The Secret To Better Hair And Skineven If Youre Not Pregnant

Some women claim that taking prenatal vitamins when theyre not pregnant improves hair growth and gives them shinier, healthier strands. But is it safe to take these nutrient-packed pills when youre not expecting? We asked experts to weigh in.

Its no secret that prenatal vitamins are packed with a slew of essential nutrients like folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and others that help support babys development and protect against or birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord, called neural tube defects. But could they also deliver an admittedly less important but still appealing perk for non-pregnant womenlonger, faster-growing hair and smoother skin?

Recently, it seems like everyone I talk to is taking prenatal vitamins for the beauty benefits. The trend appears to have gotten Hollywoods stamp of approval, too. A quick Google search confirms that LeAnn Rimes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mindy Kaling all swear by prenatals for red carpet-ready strands. will not only scare your boyfriend, will make your hair grow faster, thicker, and keep your skin glow-y and smooth, Kaling said a few years ago.

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But other experts we spoke to warned against taking these pills when youre not trying to conceive.

Taking more iron than you need all the time can lead to constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or worse, says Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, Healths contributing nutrition editor.

Folic Acid When Youre Pregnant Or Trying To Get Pregnant

Folic acid is an essential supplement to take during the first few months of your pregnancy and when youre trying to get pregnant.

It helps your baby to develop a healthy spine, reducing their chances of developing a neural tube defect like spina bifida.

The NHS recommends that you should take 400mg of folic acid every day during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy and when youre trying to conceive to help support your baby during their early development.

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What Is Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects . Some studies show that taking folic acid may help prevent heart defects and birth defects in your babys mouth .

  • Before pregnancy take a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid every day.
  • Take a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid each day, even if youre not trying to get pregnant.
  • During pregnancy, take a prenatal vitamin each day that has 600 mcg of folic acid in it.

Check the product label to see how much folic acid is in it.

If youre at high risk for having a baby with an NTD, talk to your provider about how you can safely take 4,000 mcg of folic acid each day to help prevent an NTD. Start taking 4,000 mcg at least 3 months before you get pregnant and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Youre at high risk if:

  • Youve had a pregnancy with an NTD in the past.
  • You or your partner has an NTD.
  • Your partner has a child with an NTD.

Dont take several multivitamins or prenatal vitamins. You can get too much of other nutrients, which may be harmful to your health. Your provider can help you figure out the best and safest way for you to get the right amount of folic acid.

Vitamin D In Pregnancy

Why is it important for a woman to take prenatal vitamins?

You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .

It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.

Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:

  • oily fish
  • eggs
  • red meat

Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.

Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

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Why Do I Need Folic Acid In Pregnancy

Folic acid , plus vitamin B12, is needed to form red blood cells .

“Folic acid is important for pregnancy because it can help to prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida .”

The neural tube is a structure in the embryo that later develops into the babys brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid before you conceive and while you’re pregnant might prevent up to seven out of 10 cases of neural tube defects .

Selecting A Multivitamin Containing Folic Acid

For women who can become pregnant, health care professionals play an important role in motivating them to use supplements . To ensure proper use of multivitamin supplements:

  • Use the Key messages on folate for women of childbearing age to write or talk about folic acid supplementation during the childbearing years.
  • Encourage women to look for a multivitaminFootnote 13 that provides 400 mcg of folic acid per daily dose. The product should also include vitamin B12.
  • Advise women that prenatal supplements contain higher amounts of nutrients than are usually needed by women who are not pregnant. A non-prenatal multivitamin supplement is often enough. Following this advice can help women avoid taking excessive amounts of nutrients over time.
  • Ensure that women look for a Drug Identification Number or Natural Product Number on the product label showing that the product is government-approved for safety, efficacy, and quality.
  • Emphasize the importance of reading product labels. Some supplements may include cautionary notes about their use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Caution women not to take more than one daily dose. This will help women not go over the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for vitamin AFootnote 14, which is 3,000 mcg retinol activity equivalent or 10,000 IU.
  • Remind women to keep all supplements stored out of reach of young children.

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Should I Take Supplements During Pregnancy

Making sure you get the right nutrients is vital for your baby to grow and develop, so its important you get the right information. During pregnancy, your baby gets all necessary nutrients from you so, you may need more of some vitamins and minerals during pregnancy than you did before.

The opposite is also true! You may need to cut back on a few supplements and foods to make sure youre not getting too much of certain vitamins and minerals that may be harmful to your growing baby.

Eating healthy foods is usually enough to ensure your body is getting the right vitamins and minerals, however during pregnancy you may need to increase your daily intake of certain vitamins and minerals, like Folic Acid, Vitamin D and Iron, as these can prevent birth defects, promote healthy growth and ensure you remain healthy in pregnancy too.

Some women prefer to take the guesswork out of choosing pregnancy vitamins by opting for an all-in-one dietary supplement or prenatal vitamins designed for pregnant women. Others choose to be more selective with what dietary supplements they take.

The most important thing is to make sure you know what vitamins and minerals you need to take during pregnancy and what you should avoid so that you can make the best choice for you and your baby.

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Prenatal Vitamins Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Vitamins are essential nutrients for healthy bodies of both mums-to-be and their babies. They are helping your body perform hundreds of roles all the time, but you cant produce vitamins in adequate quantities on your own. This is where diet comes in! During your pregnancy, particular vitamins and minerals are extra important to eat for you and the healthy development of your baby.

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