During pregnancy you should take better care of yourself. You are creating a brand new human, which is a big deal. Your body will maximize its resources in order to support your baby’s development and prepare for delivery. Even if you lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, most of us are lacking in key nutrients. This is why it’s so important to take a prenatal multivitamin to make sure your body and baby get what it needs.
You may be wondering how to choose a prenatal vitamin that checks all the right boxes. Here’s what to look for in a prenatal multivitamin:
Folate in pregnancy vitamins
Every prenatal multivitamin should include some form of folate, or vitamin B9, to support healthy fetal development and help prevent neural tube defects and other pregnancy complications.
Suplements with Iron during pregnancy
Your body will produce 50% more blood during pregnancy, increasing your need for iron. Lack of iron can lead to anemia during pregnancy, which not only makes you feel more tired and weak, but can also increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Since iron deficiency is common even before pregnancy, it’s especially important to get it now
Remember the Calcium on your pregnancy
A lot of calcium is needed to build your baby’s bones, muscles, circulatory system, and nervous system. If your body is low in calcium, your baby’s body will not produce enough to form healthy bones. Experts recommend getting at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day, which is more than any multivitamin will include. There’s a good reason for this: too much calcium at one time interferes with iron absorption. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get much of your daily calcium from food.
To absorb all the calcium you need, you must have enough vitamin D. Surprisingly vitamin D deficiency is very common and affects nearly half the population.
Iodine for a healthy thyroid function during pregnancy
Iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function. It regulates the metabolism, body temperature, heart rate and it also supports your baby’s growth, brain development and thyroid development. Your body will need 50% more iodine than usual during pregnancy, as your metabolism speeds up to support all the rapid growth.
B vitamins for the good development of your baby
Not only folate (B9), but all of the B vitamins are important in supporting your baby’s brain and nervous system development. Probably the next most important B vitamin after folate is B12, which works in partnership with folate to support the healthy development of the brain, spine, neural tube, and will prevent birth defects. B12 deficiency is quite common, especially for vegans, as it is mostly found in animal products.
Vitamin B6 can help with nausea. It is actually an ingredient in many morning sickness medications. Biotin (B7) is important for fetal growth and development and is a common deficiency during pregnancy. B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid) are also important in keeping you and your baby healthy
Choline works in partnership with B vitamins to support healthy brain and nervous system functions and plays a crucial role in your baby’s healthy cognitive development.
DHA for the right development of the baby’s brain and eyes
DHA is highly concentrated in the human brain and eyes. It plays a crucial role in the cognitive and visual development of the fetus, which is why it’s extremely important that your prenatal multivitamin contains it.
Other impotant nutrients during pregnancy
Other nutrients typically recommended for a healthy pregnancy include antioxidant vitamins like A, C and E, plus minerals like zinc and copper. The form of these nutrients is also important. Vitamin A is essential for your baby’s visual development, but preformed vitamin A, or retinol, can be risky and is associated with birth defects and liver toxicity at high doses. For that reason, it is safer to obtain vitamin A in the form of plant-derived provitamin A from carotenoids.
Vitamins C and E help protect cells from oxidative stress which, according to the World Health Organization, has been linked to preeclampsia and other pregnancy risks. Vitamin C also synthesizes collagen, which helps build cartilage, bone, and skin for your baby.
Zinc is an essential mineral that supports healthy cell division and a healthy immune system. It is estimated that more than 80% of pregnant women have low levels. Zinc deficiency is linked to low birth weight and other health risks.
Copper helps form red blood cells and supports your baby’s heart, blood vessels, bone and nervous system.