Prenatal Vitamins

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

I would start taking a prenatal vitamin at least a month before conception happens. So as soon as someone's interested in starting to get ready to conceive, I would go ahead and start a prenatal. Taking a prenatal before you conceive dramatically reduces the risk of spinal cord issues and neural tube defects for the baby. Taking a prenatal during pregnancy helps very much with the nutrition of a pregnancy.

In today's world, eating a balanced diet is likely sufficient. But in my mind, taking a prenatal is a small additive benefit, the risks of which are none. A basic prenatal vitamin should include the supplements of folic acid, between 400 to 800 micrograms daily, in addition to calcium and iron supplementation. It should have about 100% of the daily intake of vitamins. So when you look at the label, you should expect to see that.

Many of the over-the-counter prenatals will meet these prerequisites and are perfect choices to pick. I don't think that there's a cost benefit to taking a more costly pre-natal, necessarily. A few groups of women could benefit from a prescription prenatal. Some women who need a higher folic acid intake, those that may carry a genetic predisposition to folic acid metabolism issues, they might need a prescription level folic acid containing prenatal vitamin.

There are a few other particular types of prenatals that are different, some that contain stool softeners, because sometimes the iron in a prenatal can be constipating, and some that have different forms of consumption, like chewable prenatals or liquid-type of prenatals. And those are often prescription only.

A lot of women will feel a wave of nausea come on after taking their prenatal vitamin. Some strategies to help with that are taking the prenatal right before bedtime. That strategy helps to sleep through that wave of nausea. Also, some formulations of prenatals come in tiered doses, so that the vitamins are administered maybe twice or three times a day to split up the dosing, which can sometimes help with the side effects.

A prenatal vitamin is for both the baby and the mother. Some of the nutrients, like folic acid, are for the baby and for the offspring the calcium is also important for bone development in the offspring of the iron stores are to help with the mother's strength and so it really is for both the mom and the baby's health.