Prenatal Vitamins and Pregnancy
At Women’s Health Medical Group, we sometimes see a woman who has just found out she’s pregnant and she wonders what all the fuss surrounding “prenatal vitamins” is all about. Unlike many questionable supplements out there, prenatal vitamins aren’t some marketing hype put out by vitamin companies; prenatal vitamins help cover various nutritional gaps in a mother’s diet, and many of them have direct impact on preventing some birth defects.
In this last blog of this oddest of years, let’s go through the important prenatal vitamins and how they impact both your baby and you.
Folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium are particularly important
You eat a healthy diet already, so what’s the fuss about special prenatal vitamins? Certain vitamins and minerals are key during pregnancy.
- Folic acid
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord. These defects develop in the first 28 days after conception. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s recommended to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. This should start before conception and continue through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In addition to supplements, folic acid occurs naturally in green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.
Additional calcium can help keep pregnant women from losing bone density as the baby uses her calcium for its own bone growth.
Iodine is important for a woman’s healthy thyroid function during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency can lead to stunted physical growth, severe mental disability, and deafness. Not enough iodine can also lead to miscarriages and stillborn births.
Iron helps the blood in both the mother and the baby carry oxygen.
What a prenatal vitamin should include
Although we’ll prescribe prenatal vitamins for you, here’s what we want in them:
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid
- 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D
- 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 70 mg of vitamin C
- 3 mg of thiamine
- 2 mg of riboflavin
- 20 mg of niacin
- 6 mcg of vitamin B12
- 10 mg of vitamin E
- 15 mg of zinc
- 17 mg of iron
- 150 mcg of iodine
At Women’s Health Medical Group, we’re with you through all the phases of pregnancy and childbirth. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, give us a call at (817) 346-5336.