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Why take a prenatal supplement? holisticher.com Switzerland

Why take a prenatal supplement?

There is no time in your life when good health and nutrition is more important than when trying to conceive or during pregnancy. Naturally food comes first when it comes to getting your essential nutrients however prenatal vitamins can ensure you’re meeting your requirements, especially during pregnancy when micronutrient needs increase – a bit like a nutrition insurance policy!

 

Why is a prenatal supplement important

A good supply of important vitamins and nutrients are essential for a baby’s growth and development but also play a big role in keeping the mother healthy during pregnancy.

Taking a prenatal supplement is key to bridge the gap where even the healthiest diets can fall short. Although many women have balanced diets, most are unable to absorb adequate amounts of some essential vitamins and minerals needed to help support a healthy pregnancy. For example, research shows that we don’t absorb enough folic acid (amongst others) from food sources alone. Prenatal vitamins can help support those TTC and expectant mothers to receive these essential vitamins.

Getting the right nutrition is proven to have a significant impact on fertility, pregnancy, post-partum recovery, and the life of the baby. In fact, studies have shown that prenatal supplementation with essential vitamin and minerals can have long-term benefits for child cognitive development.

How is a prenatal different from a multivitamin

Prenatal vitamins are made especially for during pregnancy and specifically contain the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals to support mother and baby. During this period there is a specific need for certain micronutrients for nourishing the mother, and for the optimal development of baby.

What are the most important nutrients in a prenatal?

While it’s important to have a well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy, some are truly essential because they actually help your baby form vital organs and body systems, many of which begin developing in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

Folic Acid

Folic acid helps prevent major birth defects of the foetus’ brain and spine (called neural tube defects). Pregnant mamas need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day—but because it’s hard to get this much from diet alone, your prenatal vitamin should have at least 400 micrograms.

Iron

When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood circulating in your body increases to support the baby. Iron is responsible for carrying the oxygen in your blood to your body’s cells. A prenatal vitamin with plenty of iron, 25 to 30 micrograms, allows oxygen to get adequately transported to the mother and the foetus.

DHA

Some prenatal vitamins also contain fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (commonly referred to as DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). These “good fats” help with baby’s development—with DHA specifically accumulating in the brain and eyes of the baby, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Others

Other vitamins and minerals that are important during pregnancy include calcium and vitamin D (which work hand in hand to support the baby’s developing bones and teeth), and choline, B vitamins and vitamin C.

When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?

If you’re planning on getting pregnant, you should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you begin trying. This is because taking a supplement wont immediately get your blood levels to where they need to be – it takes some time.

Folic acid is especially important to begin taking earlier than conception because the foetal brain and spinal cord are formed within the first trimester—the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Most women find out they are pregnant between weeks four and seven but according to experts, neural tube defects can start forming during week six. This is why it’s ideal for prenatal vitamins to be consistently taken before pregnancy.

If you aren’t already taking prenatal vitamins when TTC, or you have an unexpected pregnancy, you should start as soon as possible after you find out you are pregnant. It is not too late, and both you and baby still need the essentialsupport throughout the pregnancy (and beyond into post-partum!).

The takeaway

If you’re thinking seriously about becoming pregnant in the next few months, starting a prenatal vitamin should be at the top of your preconception to-do list. If you’re already pregnant, begin taking one as soon as possible.

Taking a prenatal vitamin is great way to support and replenish your nutrient levels to ensure you’re getting what you need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Finally, take some time to discuss prenatal vitamins with your health provider. Based on your health history or bloodwork, they might recommend additional vitamins or minerals to supplement your prenatal vitamin.

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