Prenatal Vitamins – What are they?
Most healthcare professionals recommend that women during their child bearing years take a prenatal vitamin with Folic Acid, whether they are pregnant or not. These recommendations are made for the benefit of the mother’s health and that of her developing baby. The specific formula of these multivitamins is to help alleviate any nutritional deficiencies in the mother’s diet. During pregnancy, a woman’s daily intake requirements for certain nutrients, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron will increase. Vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and folic acid are vital for proper fetal growth and development. Proper nutrition is the foundation for a healthy life. To help increase your likelihood of creating a healthy and nutritious environment in which your baby can develop, it is important that you establish a well-balanced diet and exercise routine before getting pregnant.
Women – take Folic Acid before you’re Pregnant!
Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida) by 50% to 70%. The CDC urges women to take Folic acid every day. Start at least one month before getting pregnant. (www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html) Spina bifida, is the most common neural tube defect. Spina bifida may leave a child with varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence, and sometimes mental retardation. Neural tube defects occur within the first 28 days after conception, most often before many women realize that they are pregnant. About fifty percent of all pregnancies are unplanned the Department of Health recommends that you take folic acid each day. Natural sources of folic acid are: green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. It is also found in many fortified breakfast cereals and prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal Vitamins May Reduce the Risk of Autism
The finding, published in the July 2011 issue of the journal Epidemiology, suggests that taking prenatal vitamins prior to conception and during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of autism. (journals.lww.com/epidem/Abstract/2011/07000/Prenatal_Vitamins,_One_carbon_Metabolism_Gene.8.aspx)
Want Smarter Kids? Take Iron and Folic Acid during Pregnancy
Iron and folic acid are the two major nutrients that are crucial during pregnancy for neurodevelopment of the baby. A recent study reveals the important role of folic acid and iron during pregnancy and shows that mothers who take both the nutrients during pregnancy have smarter babies. Iron deficiency is considered to be the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world. (jama.ama-assn.org/content/304/24/2716.abstract)
A new large study revealed that fish oil or DHA intake does NOT result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improve baby’s cognitive functions or brain power. (jama.ama-assn.org/content/304/15/1675.abstract)
High Folate Intake May Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Intake of high levels of folate (folic acid) may reduce colorectal cancer risk, according to a new study in Gastroenterology. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Prenatal Vitamins are also rich in folate (folic acid).http://www.gastro.org/news/articles/2011/07/05/high-folate-intake-may-reduce-risk-of-colorectal-cancer
Iron in pregnancy
Iron helps both the mother and baby’s blood carry oxygen. Iron will also help you avoid symptoms of tiredness, weakness, irritability, and depression. Also 80% of the iron present in a full term newborn infant is accumulated during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Therefore it is important to consume more iron while you are pregnant to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough oxygen.
Calcium in Pregnancy
Calcium during pregnancy can prevent a new mother from losing her own bone density, as the fetus uses the mineral for bone growth. During the last two trimesters of pregnancy and while breastfeeding, your body absorbs more calcium than when you are not pregnant. Your baby needs this extra calcium to build healthy teeth and bones. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet during pregnancy, the calcium your baby needs will be taken from your bones. While a daily vitamin supplement is no substitute for a healthy diet, most women need supplements to make sure they get adequate levels of these essential vitamins and minerals. Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. Look for one that includes the following ingredients: Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin C, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Zinc and Iron.
Information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare professional.