What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your bodys nerves, muscles and immune system work. Your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your babys bones and teeth grow.
During pregnancy, you need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. You can get this amount from food or your prenatal vitamin. Good sources of vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Milk and cereal that has vitamin D added to it
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
- 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.
Why Are Additional Vitamins And Supplements Needed
For couples trying to conceive or have conceived, leading a healthy lifestyle creates two key advantages: improved fertility and a reduced risk of birth defects. Its relatively easy to carve out some time everyday for a workout and de-stressing session. However, ones diet isnt as easy to alter, especially if youve got a busy schedule that only allows for the quickest option available.
This is where additional vitamins and supplements come into play. For both parties, these help to complete your dietary jigsaw puzzle and boost your chances of conceiving. Whats more, there are vitamins and supplements that reduce the risk of birth defects as well, giving you much-needed peace of mind as the foetus develops.
For instance, folate is a vitamin that helps the babys brain and spinal cord develop properly during the initial stages of pregnancy . Then theres vitamin D, which an increasing amount of data shows that it boosts fertility in vitamin D-deficient males and females .
Therefore, it is definitely worth the extra couple of dollars a month for vitamins and supplements.
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What Are Neural Tube Defects
Neural tube defects are birth defects that involve incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord. The most common neural tube defects are:
- spina bifida: when the spinal cord and spinal column don’t completely close
- anencephaly: when the skull, scalp, and brain do not form properly
- encephalocele: when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin through an opening in the skull
These defects happen during the first 28 days of pregnancy usually before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.
That’s why it’s so important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folic acid, not just those who are trying to become pregnant. Half of all pregnancies are not planned, so anyone who could become pregnant should make sure to get enough folic acid.
It’s not clear why folic acid has such a profound effect on the prevention of neural tube defects. But experts do know that it’s vital to the development of DNA. As a result, folic acid plays a large role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation.
Are There Any Side Effects To Prenatals
Generally, prenatal vitamins are considered safe when taken as directed. However, certain specific vitamins or nutrients can cause mild side effects, primarily related to digestion. Heres an overview:
- Constipation: “The pregnancy hormone progesterone can cause constipation, and then if you add an iron supplement, it can be tough,” says Dr. Rankins. Drink plenty of water and make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. You can also ask your doctor about a stool softener to help keep things moving.
- Nausea and vomiting: Iron can also make people feel queasy. Dr. Rankins suggests taking prenatals with “easily digestible” foods such as crackers or applesauce. You may also need to take your vitamin at bedtime, switch brands or even experiment with different formulas.
- Bright yellow urine: Large doses of B vitamins like riboflavin may give your pee a more colorful hue thats typically harmless, but always check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
Monday 14 August 2017
Once you get pregnant, youre likely to be bombarded with advice from everyone you know . From what you should eat and drink, to what to expect from pregnancy and birth, or what products to buy and what to run from chances are there is a lot of well-meaning but overwhelming advice coming your way.
One thing that expecting mothers might hear about is supplements. Below, weve listed the supplements pregnant women should be taking during pregnancy and why.
Prenatal Vitamins Not Just For Women Who Are Already Pregnant
Prenatal vitamins are not exclusive to the nine months of pregnancy. It is prudent to begin taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant so that you and your baby receive maximum nutrition during the first few weeks of pregnancy when fetal development is at its most active, which is often before many women are even aware that they are pregnant. Your health care provider may also recommend that you continue taking prenatal vitamins for several months after the baby is born, especially if you are breastfeeding.
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What Vitamins And Supplements Should I Take During Pregnancy
Eating a well-balanced diet is important during your pregnancy. What you eat and drink has an impact on your baby and your body. Learn about pregnancyvitamins and supplements you should take to help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Can You Have A Healthy Baby With Pcos
Women with PCOS may have difficulty getting pregnant and are at a higher risk of developing complications during pregnancy. However, by managing the symptoms, many women with PCOS can become pregnant and have a healthy baby.
How can I prepare my body for pregnancy with PCOS?
According to the international evidence-based guidelines for the evaluation and management of PCOS, adopting a healthy lifestyle including being within the healthy weight range, not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, eating a healthy diet , getting plenty of regular exercise and getting enough sleep is the first thing to do to
How does taking prenatal vitamins help you get pregnant?
Certain nutrients contained in prenatal vitamins are particularly beneficial for that pregnancy test to finally be positive ! Studies suggest that women taking a multivitamin daily have a lower risk of suffering from ovulatory infertility.
What should I do before I start trying to get pregnant?
Before you officially start trying, do a health check. Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, which helps protect against certain birth defects, such as spina bifida. Folic acid works during the early stages of pregnancy, so its important to make sure youre getting enough folic acid even before you get pregnant.
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What’s The Deal With Folic Acid
“Folate is a B vitamin that plays an integral role in DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, and fetal growth and development,” says Oddy. “Its recommended to take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid – or the more biologically active form of Folic Acid, Folate – per day, for 3 months prior to conception, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and congenital abnormalities.”
She points out that women who are at a higher risk of having babies with neural tube defects might benefit from up to 5mg a day but explains a doctor will notify you if this is relevant to you .
“Folic acid helps the babys neural tube, which is part of the babys nervous system, to grow,” Mehta agrees. “Taking a folic acid supplement has also been shown to reduce the risk of the baby developing spina bifida and other conditions affecting their neural tube and spine.”
Mehta also recommends that if you’re trying to conceive, ideally you should take a daily supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid around three months before you hope to get pregnant, too.
Taking Extra Folic Acid
Your midwife or GP may ask you to take a larger amount of folic acid if:
- youve had a baby with a neural tube defect before
- someone in your close family has a neural tube defect
- youre taking medicines for epilepsy
- you have diabetes
- youre overweight and your body mass index is 30 or more
- you have sickle-cell anaemia or thalassaemia
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Ingredients Potential Interactions And Contraindications
It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Bring the supplement label to your healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.
Inositol, sometimes referred to as vitamin B8, acts as an insulin sensitizer which means it helps regulate blood sugar levels. With the rising rates of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, as well as people with PCOS, inositol is being looked at as a valid therapeutic approach to blood sugar management in pregnancy. It may be included in some prenatal supplements and is generally recognized as safe.
Red raspberry leaf is used during pregnancy and labor to tone and strengthen the uterus. While this is a popular supplement among midwives and the complementary medicine field, there aren’t enough studies on its safety or efficacy. Since it is known to induce contractions, much of the research has focused on its use only after 32 weeks gestation, so the safety of taking this supplement in the first and second trimesters and its connection with preterm labor is unclear.
Where To Get Pregnancy Supplements
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.
If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .
You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme.
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Additional Prenatal And Postnatal Nutrition Needs
As weve gathered so far, a womans nutrition needs increase during pregnancybut in terms of calories, its not as much as you might think.
On average, most pregnant women will need to consume an extra 340 extra calories per day.
Additionally, the CDC recommends that breastfeeding mothers consume an additional 450 to 500 calories daily. However, this number can vary depending on your:
- body mass
- activity level
- breastfeeding frequency
During pregnancy, theres also an uptick in certain macronutrient needs. Macronutrients are large food nutrients such as protein, carbs, and fats.The American Pregnancy Association recommends increasing protein intake to 75 to 100 grams per day while pregnant. In addition, they should strive to consume get plenty of fiber from complex carbohydrates and choose fewer foods high in saturated fats.
Folic Acid Before And During Pregnancy
Its important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
If you did not take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Try to eat green leafy vegetables which contain folate and breakfast cereals and fat spreads with folic acid added to them.
It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for a healthy pregnancy from food alone, which is why it’s important to take a folic acid supplement.
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Which Are The Best Vitamin D Foods And Sources
Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight between March and September . If you have dark skin or always cover your skin when outside, talk to your midwife or doctor as you may not get enough.
You can find vitamin D in foods like oily fish , eggs and red meat. For more on how much and which fish is safe to eat during pregnancy, see here. As vitamin D is only present in a few foods, supplements can be useful .
What Supplements Are Safe And Unsafe For Pregnancy
Were here to give you simple and straightforward answers on what supplements and vitamins are safe for pregnancy, and what supplements to avoid.
If youre pregnant or trying to conceive its important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes a well balanced diet and intake of necessary vitamins and minerals. With a countless variety of supplements, oils, herbs, and prenatal vitamins on the market, it can be daunting trying to figure out whats right for your body and what isnt. Were here to give you simple and straightforward answers on what supplements are safe for pregnancy, and what supplements to avoid.
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Are There Any Vitamins And Supplements You Should Avoid When Trying To Conceive
There are vitamins and supplements that provide a boost for couples trying to conceive, and then there are those that have the complete opposite effect. Fortunately, these are similar to what ladies should avoid when theyre pregnant, so think of it as a precautionary measure.
These are 3 vitamins and supplements that you should avoid when trying to conceive :
Why Do Pregnant Women Need High Levels Of Folic Acid Iron And Calcium
Taking folic acid can reduce your risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect of the brain and spinal cord, called the neural tube. A baby with spina bifida, the most common neural tube defect, is born with a spine that is not completely developed. The exposed nerves are damaged, leaving the child with varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence and sometimes learning disabilities. Some women are at an increased risk for having a baby with an open neural tube defect. These women include, but are not limited to, those with a family history of spina bifida and those taking anti-epileptic medicines. ACOG recommends additional folic acid for women at an increased risk for having a baby with a neural tube defect. Your doctor can discuss this with you and, in some instances, refer you for genetic counseling.
Neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception. Because about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, the U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. There are natural sources of folic acid: green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. Its also found in many fortified breakfast cereals and some vitamin supplements.
Taking calcium during pregnancy can prevent a new mother from losing her own bone density as the fetus uses the mineral for bone growth. Taking iron helps both the mother and babys blood carry oxygen.
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Safe And Effective Supplements For Pregnancy
Other supplements that you can take safely while pregnant include:
- Iron is vital for the growing fetus, and supports the dramatic increase in blood volume during pregnancy. The CDC recommends universal screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women and universal iron supplementation to meet the iron requirements of pregnancy. Our Natalist prenatal gummy vitamins contain 2 mg of iron per serving, along with several other essential vitamins and nutrients, to ensure your daily iron needs are met during your pregnancy.
- Peppermint leaf is also safe for pregnant women and can be used to help with nausea and vomiting
- Ginger root is another safe and effective option for alleviating morning sickness and nausea.
What Dose Of Folic Acid Do I Need During Pregnancy
The recommended dose of folic acid for non-pregnant adults and children over 11 years old is 200 mcg . You can get this from eating a healthy, varied diet.
Pregnant women, however, should take an additional 400 mcg of folic acid, which is where the supplements come in. Eating foods that are rich in folic acid is encouraged as well .
Vitamin D In Pregnancy
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
- 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.
There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus . But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19.