Prenatal supplements (PNVs) are specially formulated vitamin and mineral supplements that women may take before pregnancy to be sure that they will have all of the essential nutrients they need during pregnancy. Studies have shown that a healthy baby can benefit from the use of prenatal supplements before and throughout pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins come in a variety of formulations. Most PNV are distributed as samples to physician’s offices. This gives you the chance to try multiple samples. Some will come with stool softeners, while other’s will have binders. This sampling allows you to find out which you may, or may not tolerate. Selecting one you can tolerate makes it easier to take, and makes it easier for you to remember to take it daily.
What Is The Ideal Prenatal Vitamin?
Some components of PNV supplements are common to all formulations. They are folic acid, iron, and calcium. Most prenatal vitamins include only 100 to 250 mg of calcium. Women need approximately 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily, so a separate calcium supplement should also be taken. With this exception for calcium, never take any additional supplements with your prenatal vitamins unless they are prescribed by your doctor.
Many over-the-counter supplements may contain levels of vitamins and minerals that are too high. It may be smarter to use a PNV that has been specifically formulated for pregnant women and/or women trying to conceive. Unless a mother is considered to be at “nutritional risk,” PNVs are not recommended postpartum. Some women may benefit from the taking of prenatal vitamins postpartum if they are planning to become pregnant in less than one year. However, most experts would recommend spacing pregnancy by at least one year.
Who Should Take Prenatal Vitamins?
Ask your doctor. A prenatal supplement may not be necessary if you are a healthy woman who eats a well-balanced diet and has no risk factors. This is something necessary to discuss with your doctor in order to determine what is right for you. No matter how healthily you eat, it is generally difficult to meet all your nutritional needs each and every day. This is especially true while pregnant, or trying to conceive. In this case, prenatal vitamins can act as insurance. One common supplement all doctors agree should be taken is folic acid.
When is the taking of prenatal vitamins a must? For a women with a history of poor eating habits, or are on a restricted diet such as a vegan diet, or who require a specific nutrient due to an existing medical condition will definitely need to take some type of supplement.