Prenatal VitaminsWhat can be found in a prenatal vitamin and why are they important?
Aside from eating a well-balanced diet, women should be taking prenatal vitamins daily if they are trying to conceive, are already pregnant or if they are breastfeeding. Prenatal vitamins ensure that you are getting enough of the right kinds of vitamins and nutrients to support a growing or nursing baby. You can purchase prental vitamins over the counter or you can get a prescription from your healthcare provider.
You may already be getting most of the vitamins and nutrients that you need from eating healthy meals. However, there are two crucial nutrients that most pregnant and lactating women do not get enough of from food alone.
The only way to make sure you're getting the amount of folic acid you need each day is to take a supplement. All medical authorities recommend a daily dose of 400 micrograms (mcg) starting at least a month before you begin trying to get pregnant and at least 600 mcg a day once you know you're pregnant. (And that's in addition to the folic acid you get from food, which is actually not as easy for your body to absorb as the synthetic kind in a supplement.) Research has shown that doing this can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby by up to 70 percent. Most prenatal vitamins contain between 600 and 1,000 mcg of folic acid. If you don't take one, make sure you still take a separate folic acid supplement. If you've previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, you'll need to take 4,000 mcg, or 4 milligrams, of this vitamin every day, starting at least a month before conception. See your practitioner about getting a prescription for pills that provide this larger dose.
Most women don't get enough iron in their diet to meet their body's increased needs during pregnancy. It is important to take a vitamin to ensure that you are getting enough iron on a daily basis. That's because your body makes a lot more blood when you're pregnant to support your growing baby, and as a result, the iron stores in your blood can get spread pretty thin. To avoid developing anemia
during pregnancy, most women need to take a supplement. The amount recommended when you're pregnant is 27 milligrams (mg) of iron per day, 50 percent more than you need when you're not pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all pregnant women start taking a low-dose iron supplement of 30 mg at the first prenatal visit, either as an individual supplement or in a prenatal vitamin. Most prenatal vitamins contain between 27 and 60 mg of iron. (Be sure to keep your pills out of reach of children; supplemental iron can be fatal to them.) Some women need to take even more during pregnancy. After reviewing your prenatal blood work, your health care provider will let you know if you need to increase your iron intake. Women with iron-deficiency anemia are usually advised to take between 60 and 120 mg of iron each day in addition to a prenatal vitamin that contains iron. If you're not yet pregnant but already know you're anemic, your caregiver may suggest that you start taking an iron supplement now.
Because the Food and Drug Administration does not yet regulate what goes into vitamin and mineral supplements, no standards have been set for what should be in them. It is up to you and your health care provider to make sure you choose one that's safe and appropriate for you. Your health care provider will most likely recommend that you take a prenatal vitamin at your first prenatal visit or preconception visit. He or she will either prescribe one for you or recommend an over the counter brand. Do not take any additional vitamins or mineral supplements with your prenatal vitamin, unless your caregiver recommends doing so.
At your first prenatal checkup or at a preconception visit, your practitioner will probably recommend that you start taking a prenatal vitamin. She may prescribe one for you or she may recommend an over-the-counter brand. Make sure you don't take any other vitamin or mineral supplement while you're taking a prenatal supplement unless your practitioner recommends it. Taking twice the recommended amount of a prenatal vitamin inone day won't harm you or your baby. However, doing that more often can be harmful, so it's important not to make a habit of doubling up on your prenatal supplements. If for some reason your caregiver has told you that you need more of a certain nutrient (iron or calcium, for example) than is in your prenatal vitamin, take the extra amount as a separate supplement. Multivitamins are designed to give you what you need daily, and getting an extra dose of everything in them is definitely not better.
Prenatal vitamin and mineral supplements are pretty big, and some women find them hard to swallow, especially when they're dealing with nausea. If this is a problem for you, your health care provider may be able to prescribe a smaller pill or one with a slick coating that makes it easier to get down. (Pills that don't contain calcium tend to be smaller, and you can get your calcium in other ways.) Chewable vitamins are also available, although many women say they do not taste very good. If your doctor has recommended a vitamin with a high level of iron, it may upset your stomach. (Supplements that contain no more than the recommended amount of 30 mg probably won't cause you any problems.) Taking a lot of iron can lead to constipation, which is already a problem for many pregnant women. Some women find that prenatal vitamins can also cause nausea or, more rarely, diarrhea. If you think iron is distressing your stomach, talk to your practitioner about it. If you're not anemic, it may make sense for you to switch to a prenatal vitamin with a lower dose of iron. If that's not an option for you, try drinking prune juice to help you stay regular or take your supplement at bedtime to avoid queasiness. Your practitioner may also recommend taking the pill after a meal because you're likely to tolerate it better with a full stomach.
Comments: Prenatal Vitamins
Comments 1 to 24 of about 43.
1 2 Nextmommylove2013
550 days ago.
I hate the smell but the pill is cool it works nd I think it cuts out some of mi morning sickness too ig ima keep up the good work oh yeah y so big feel like it get stuck some time will it work if I break it down in fours shellbz
702 days ago.
When I was pregnant with my girls I had been taking GNC Prenatal Vitimins before conception. My OB wanted me to try prescribed ones and within a few weeks my nails were not as strong. I knew I wasn't receiving enough of something so he told me I could go back to my GNC ones. ashika touchstone
836 days ago.
well if u take prenatals with food it wount rili affect u i take prenatals from the begining of my pregnancy n the doctors said i got good amount of blood in my body n with food it wount be a problm .. try it. hoosiermommy
1158 days ago.
I just bought a bottle of VitaFusion gummy prenatal vitamins to try - has anyone tried them? They include DHA, which is nice, but no calcium or iron. I have trouble swallowing pills. During my first pregnancy, I took two Flintstones chewables every day (my OB said this was fine). Was planning to do the same this time around, but I've been told I'd also need a DHA supplement. When I saw the VitaFusion gummies with DHA, I got pretty excited. Just wondering if anyone's used them or heard anything about them. bananamoonpi
1312 days ago.
started prenatal since january...have noticed my hair growing faster:) monika00
1355 days ago.
there are many reasons to tak a vitamin even if not pregnant as most ppl. do not eat the recommened amount of fruit and veggies, let alone calcium and iron or folic. or essential to ENSURE you have a healthy baby. I am a high risk pregnancy with diabites in my family so i take PREGVIT FOLIC 5 , there is also just Preg Vit. its 2 pills one in the morning before breakfast and one after dinner. i have been taking them a couple weeks before i concived. these pills a bit pricy ( canada) but they are formulated to help reduce nausesa which i hearfd other pills help enduce. Also they are kosher and all that other good stuff.. FDA approved and all. I like them. i feel less worried when i only eat fires and some ice cream in a day. i know my baby is getting all it needs if i skip out once in a while. ( cravings are craving, abubon
1362 days ago.
I always had a major problem with prenatals when i was pregnant with my daughter and more often than not skipped taking them and she is ok, however i do not recommend it. they way our food is processed now a days is the biggest reason why the prenatals are so much more important these days. I am now 26 weeks and have not been using a prenatal vitamin, any vitamin bought in a store is chemically manufactured in some way unless it is kosher and halal certified it is an artificial source. I have been using a drink formulated from the Moringa tree which is a natural certified food product making all of its nutrients vitamins and minerals completely natural my doctor not only said it is perfectly fine for me to substitue the drink for the vitamin but she also told me she is going to suggest it to other patients. erickaash
1362 days ago.
Thanks I thought it was strange. Why would they make all the prenatals if all women needed was a child's vitamin ? Kind of frustrated me esp because I asked her. I wonder if it has anything to do with being more of a natural Dr. ? kimkayb
1363 days ago.
@erickaash, yes, that does seem a little odd. Even my GP prescribed me my pre-natals. erickaash
1363 days ago.
My doctor told me that all I need to be taking for pre-natal vitamins is Flinstones or generic chewable vitamins. Does it seem odd to anyone else or is it just that simple?? friend
1506 days ago.
am 9w4d and not taking any prenatals, will it effect my baby.. it makes me sick too bad even flintstones r worse.. is der anybody who was not on prenatals n yet their baby was fine??
pls help am worried now.. duemarch22
1517 days ago.
I wanted to let everyone know that the Grocery store Meijer does FREE prenatals. If you have one near you take your script there and use your extra cash to do something nice for yourself! KZorn
1526 days ago.
I used to take materna prenatal vitamins when I lived in Canada, and I tried a diff brand with the last pregnancy and they made me sick so I got my friend to mail me materna from canada for that pregnancy too. I'm wondering now that I'm onto baby #3 if anyone knows of a prenatal that is essentially the same as materna but available in the US? 1Day@ATime
1592 days ago.
Nikkii b- i always found it easier to take them with a night snack about an hour or two before going to sleep and that was asctually my sister's and SIL advice, they took it at night also. i hope this helps. nikkii b
1592 days ago.
I jus do not like taking them! Some days are better then others...but for the most part....they make me gag....jus awful. BarbaraD83
1606 days ago.
I am on a prenatal vitamin now and I think it has too much Iron, doesn anyone take one that doesnt make you as constipated!? AMK1984
1623 days ago.
knockoutmom - store brand over the counter prenatals do not have as much stuff in them as a prescription prenatal. If you were on a prescription prenatal with your daughter that could be why you are not having issues with the sickness and pill size. Just a thought :) knockoutmom
1624 days ago.
were going to be ttc in a few months (i still have my mirena in) but ive already started my prenatals. im sure it wont hurt, i just wanna make sure i have enough of what i need!! a word of advice, i started on the target brand ones and they werent nearly as big as the pills i took when i was preggo with my daughter. and they dont make me sick!! irishrose879
1661 days ago.
Im 9 weeks along and have been taking my prenatal ever sice I found out about the little bundle of joy. Unfortunately ever since I started it, mine has been making me sick. Diarrhea being the worst of the symptoms. I discovered that my vitamin has polyethylene glycol which is most commonly used in laxatives (go figure) so I was told I could switch to the flintstones complete (2 a day for pregnancy) which does not contain the polyethylene (and for all those scared about the folic acid, 2 flintstones complete chewables contains 800mcg of it, which is above the minimum 600mcg required). Helps to know your chemistry! Switching till I can get to a doc and switch the prenatals :) anxiousmothertobe
1667 days ago.
Jolene some prenatal vitamins tend to do that so if you're uncomfortable taking them just tell your Dr. and they'll recommend you another type that will suit your needs. Good Luck! JLea
1668 days ago.
sokistar, late response but my doctor actually gave me a sample of 'Select-OB +DHA' which actually has a chewable vitamin. I've yet to take it but I hear it doesn't taste bad. Just an FYI if anyone wanted to ask their doctor about it. lolligirl
1712 days ago.
Do anyone here take flintstone gummies for pregnancy? Are they just as good as the regular flintstone vitamins? JoleneHarrison
1747 days ago.
I am 19 weeks. i am taking prental pills and they make me soo sick.today after i took one i was actually sick. i dont know if maybe its them or something else?
pls help im scared and worried Chazoos
1750 days ago.
Oh trust me.. I hate taking the folate & iron tablets.. they drive me crazy! I have to have at least 3 glasses of water after I take one just to stomach it! ElliottnDeclans-mummy
1857 days ago.
OK so Elliott is now 9months 2 weeks. I came off my pill a month ago as we would like to try for another baby once Elliott is one. We are still using condoms as we don't want to get pregnant before our wedding in October. Do you think I should start taking my pregnacare vitamins now?