All Prenatal Vitamins Are Not Created Equal
“Train. Say your prayers. Eat your vitamins.” – Professional Wrestler Hulk Hogan
We don’t have to be professional athletes to need vitamins. In fact, because of our often-lacking standard American diets, everybody can benefit from taking vitamins regularly. Why? Because we probably don’t get all the nutrients we need from the foods we eat, especially in today’s fast-paced world where the drive-through provides some of our on-the-go meals.
For pregnant women, good vitamins are essential to the development of their baby as well as their own health.
We’ll dive into some of the reasons prenatal vitamins for pregnant women are critical.
First, what are vitamins? Vitamins are groupings of substances that are essential for cell function, growth and development. The human body needs 13 essential vitamins for proper function.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, the 13 essential vitamins are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Biotin (B7)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- Folate (folic acid and B9)
These vitamins are categorized as either fat-soluble, meaning they’re easily absorbed and stored in fat for years, or water soluble, allowing excesses to leave the body.
Again, a balanced, healthy diet can satisfy most of these requirements. But it’s easy to neglect a healthy diet in today’s world.
The right vitamins are particularly important for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. It’s recommended that women begin taking vitamins one month before pregnancy, because the first few weeks of pregnancy are very important, and getting proper nutrients is key for the best health for mother and baby.
Prenatal vitamins are specially designed to contain extra folic acid and iron. Why are folic acid and iron important to pregnant women?
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins to Baby
- Folic Acid: Critical to proper growth and development of baby. Aids in preventing neural tube defects, such as abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord like spina bifida and anencephaly. It’s recommended to take 400 mcg of folic acid.
- Iron: Support’s baby’s growth and development and prevents anemia (low healthy red blood cell count).
- Research also shows that prenatal vitamins can aid in the prevention of a small baby (in terms of gestational age).
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins to Mother
- Supplements an insufficient diet due to pregnancy cravings (unfortunately, pickles and ice cream don’t give mothers to be the nutrients they need!).
- Mother’s body is working extra hard to support two bodies, so prenatal vitamins contain the amounts necessary.
- Adequate iron can prevent anemia. During pregnancy, a mother will double the amount of blood she has just to get enough oxygen to the baby. Additionally, more iron in the blood is less traumatic if there is blood loss during birth, and it gets more oxygen to the baby. Bonus: adequate iron contributes to that famous pregnant glow!
Take note: Some vitamins have side effects such as constipation and nausea. If a pregnant woman is experiencing side effects from her prenatal vitamins, she should contact a doctor for a plan of action, which might include trying different brands.
It’s important to understand that not all prenatal vitamins are equal.
Advanced Women’s Healthcare Prenatal Vitamins
The physicians at Advanced Women’s Healthcare are proud to offer prenatal vitamins, which women can conveniently pick up during their visits or via our website. Our prenatal vitamins are top quality, pharmaceutical grade. Plus, they have everything a mother-to-be needs in one bottle, in most cases eliminating the need for multiple supplements, unless directed by your physician.
Our AWH physicians are happy to help expecting women and women who would like to become pregnant choose the best vitamins for their needs and lifestyles.
The AWH physicians recommend these brands:
Good Over-the-Counter Prenatal Vitamins
- Rainbow Light Prenatal One
- Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
- New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
- Garden of Life Raw Prenatal
- Thorne Basic Prenatal
- Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients
- DaVinci Labs Ultimate Prenatal
- DaVinci Labs Daily Best Prenatal
Supplements for Women
AWH is happy to offer delivery on all of our supplements, including prenatal vitamins when they become available for purchase. Take a look at all of the supplements we offer as part of our Advanced Women’s Center for Wellness services.
As always, AWH physicians recommend a healthy, balanced diet for women in all stages of life.