Many women know that they are supposed to take a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy, but frequently they do not know why. Mistakenly, some choose to continue with their regular multivitamin, thinking that all nutrition is the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One of the key differences between prenatal multivitamins and regular multivitamins is the amount of folic acid. Folic acid (also called folate or Vitamin B9), is a vitamin that is important in early fetal development. Specifically, getting enough folic acid is crucial for preventing neural tube defects.
In reality, a mother’s vitamin needs change drastically during pregnancy. It’s important to be aware of the recommended dosages of each vitamin an expecting mother should get. For example, mothers should get at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
As was mentioned earlier, not all multivitamins are equal. Thus, it is important to take care in deciding which is the best prenatal vitamin for you. Check for adequate amounts of all essential prenatal vitamins, and also be aware of the sources. For example, vitamin A as beta carotene is a safer source for your baby than retinyl palmitate.
Lastly, you should start on your prenatal vitamin as soon as possible. The reason is that your body needs to build up its stores. A normal adult is not growing appreciably, but a developing baby very much is. This brings with it a greatly increased demand for nutrition, one that can easily deplete your normal stores if you are not prepared. By taking a prenatal vitamin BEFORE you conceive, you’ve put yourself at a far lower risk of birth defects, and both you and your child can enjoy a happy, healthy life together.
Congratulations! Now that you’ve read this post, you’ve joined the elite group of mothers that are well-informed about the nutritional needs of pregnancy. Be sure to share this newfound knowledge with your friends. You never know who might need this life-changing advice!