It’s hard to get all the nutrients you and Your Baby need for healthy development. Even if you eat a wide variety of food, such as dairy, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes; you may still not get all of them.
If you eat a balanced diet, you will get most of the nutrients you need. If you take prenatal vitamins, you ensure you also get enough of the following:
Folic acid is important during your pregnancy for many reasons: Getting enough of this B vitamin in the month before you conceive and very early in your pregnancy can reduce Your Baby ’s risk of neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly. Folic acid may also reduce the risk of other defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and heart defects. Lastly, taking folic acid may also lower your risk of preeclampsia.
Your body absorbs the synthetic version of folic acid better than the natural one found in food, so even if you eat a balanced diet, a supplement is strongly recommended. Most doctors recommend 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.
Your prenatal supplements should contain 250 mg of calcium to help a fetus develop bones, nerves, muscles including heart muscles. It also prevents you from developing osteoporosis. Kale, spinach, salmon, soybeans and orange juice are great natural sources of calcium.
Some women don’t get enough of iron from their diet to meet their body’s increased need during pregnancy, and this can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Preventing it can reduce your risk of preterm delivery and low-birth-weight baby. Doctors often recommend that pregnant women get 27 mg of iron a day in their prenatal supplements, to help with blood development and oxygen transport. Iron can sometimes lead to constipation, which can be eased by eating a lot of fruit. Good natural sources of iron are white meat, fish, beans, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables, like spinach.
Essential Fatty Acids
Some prenatal supplements don’t contain any essential fatty acids, such as the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are important for the development of Your Baby ’s brain, nerve, and eye tissue. Fish is a major source of DHA and EPA.
Your baby needs this vitamin to build strong bones as vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining levels of calcium and phosphorus which are important for bone development. To increase your levels of Vitamin D, you can eat fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon; dairy products; soy milk; or spend some time in the sun.
- Prenatal Vitamins, American Pregnancy Association (http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/prenatal-vitamins/)
- Calcium and Vitamins, Web MD (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods)
- Importance of Prenatal Vitamins, Baby Center (https://www.babycenter.com/0_prenatal-vitamins-why-theyre-so-important_287.bc?showAll=true)