Pregnancy can be overwhelming, especially in the early days. The baby’s optimal health is every to-be mother’s primary concern. One of the simplest things you can do to support your baby’s growth is to make sure you provide them with all the nutrients they need, like vitamins and minerals.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about organic prenatal vitamins. Discover their health benefits, tips on how to choose and take them, and more.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Human bodies require nutrients for normal functioning. This is especially true for bodies undergoing major physical changes, like pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Vitamins are a type of micronutrient. They’re called micronutrients because, although they’re required in small quantities, they’re critical to the growth and development of the body.
Prenatal vitamins are micronutrient supplements women take during pregnancy to strengthen their bodies, minimize pregnancy complications, and help grow their babies. The most common prenatal supplements include vitamins like folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin D and minerals like iron and calcium.
Eating healthy is important during pregnancy, but prenatal vitamins can help you bridge the gaps in your nutrition and prevent any deficiencies that could have harmful effects.
What Are the Health Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins?
The main health benefits of prenatal supplements include:
- Folic acid, choline, and iodine. Prevent nervous system defects
- Iron. Helps in developing the placenta and the baby’s red blood cells
- Vitamin D and calcium. Help in bone growth
- Vitamin C. Supports the development of healthy teeth, gums, and bones
- Vitamin A and DHA. Help in brain and eye development
When to Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The ideal time to start taking prenatal vitamins is at least a month before conception. Pregnancy can be physically taxing on women as their bodies have to undergo many changes to prepare for a new life and share nutrients with the baby.
Getting a head start on your prenatal vitamins can help your body prepare for these changes so it can handle the transition to a pregnant state seamlessly. You can also protect your baby from certain birth defects that occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy by starting the vitamin supplements early.
But don’t worry too much if you can’t start early. Since ancient times, women have delivered healthy babies despite not having access to health supplements. You can start taking your vitamins as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor if you don’t know how to go about this or have concerns about the prenatal vitamins you’re already taking.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects?
Prenatal vitamins can make you nauseous, especially if you’re already experiencing morning sickness. To prevent this, you could try taking your vitamins with food or just before you go to sleep. If your symptoms worsen or don’t get better for a long time, you could consider switching supplement brands. Opting for a chewable supplement (like gummies) could also help with nausea by soothing your stomach.
Prenatal supplements also contain minerals like iron, which could cause constipation. To deal with this, you could increase the fiber content of your diet by eating more fresh fruits and veggies. Also, make sure you’re drinking enough water to help this fiber move through your bowels easily and reduce constipation.
Other side effects can include allergic reactions. Consult your healthcare provider if you notice any symptoms after taking prenatal vitamin supplements.
How to Choose Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are commercially available in pill, capsule, chewable, and liquid forms. Some supplements can be bought over the counter, whereas others require prescriptions.
While there isn’t any one-size-fits-all prenatal vitamin supplement, you need to make sure that whichever brand of health supplement you choose contains the following nutrients and their daily recommended amount:
- Folic acid: At least 600 micrograms
- B vitamins: 1.9 milligrams of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and 2.6 micrograms of vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin D: 600 international units
- Vitamin C: 80 to 85 milligrams
- Vitamin A: 750 to 770 micrograms
- Minerals: 1 to 1.3 grams of calcium, 27 milligrams of iron, 220 micrograms of iodine, 9.5 milligrams of zinc, and 800 micrograms of copper
Other nutrient supplements you may require include DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) and choline. You could speak to your healthcare provider to check which supplement fits your nutritional needs best. Also, opt for supplements manufactured in a GMP-certified facility to ensure they’re of good quality.
Should I Buy Organic Prenatal Vitamins?
“Organic” has recently become a healthcare mantra. Organic simply means any ingredients obtained from natural food sources. To better understand how this is applied, here’s a summary of how the USDA organic labeling works:
- 100 percent organic. These products only contain ingredients that have been certified organic by USDA-accredited agents. They don’t have any additives, chemicals, pesticides, or synthetic substances.
- Organic. These products contain 95% organic ingredients. But the remaining 5% can include nonorganic substances, like additives and coloring agents, on The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
- Made with organic. These products contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
Synthetic vitamins are industrially processed and can contain many chemicals. So, it might be better to opt for natural ingredients, as minimizing chemical intake can reduce toxicity. In addition, natural substances are better absorbed as your body already contains the enzymes required to break them down, digest them, and use them fully.
However, if you’re vegan, you might want to make sure that the organic vitamins aren’t sourced from animals but only from plants. There's no recommended healthcare guideline, and choosing organic prenatal supplements should ultimately be based on every would-be mother's preference.
The focus must remain on providing adequate nutrition to yourself and your baby. A healthy, nutritious diet is an excellent place to begin, followed by prenatal vitamins to supplement your diet.