Prenatal vitamins are, usually, one of the first things you start considering when you have baby on the brain. You probably think you just need to pick up an over-the-counter bottle of whatever has all the extra nutrients your body will need to support a growing baby, too, but is that the case? What type of vitamins do you need to take while you're pregnant anyway, and do you need more than one? Let's have a look. Because, after all, preparation is the name of the pregnancy game, so it doesn't hurt to know what you should be consuming every day for 40 weeks (more or less), even before that pregnancy test turns positive.
According to WebMd, there are a few vitamins that are especially important to take when you're pregnant. The site states, "Folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium are especially important." Folic acid is likely the one you've heard of the most, and it's because you really should be taking folic acid even before you get pregnant. WebMd explains, saying:
"Folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception, before many women know they are pregnant. Because about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, it's recommended that any woman who could get pregnant take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy."
At the very least, you'll want to make sure your prenatal vitamin contains at least 400 mcg of folic acid, in addition to calcium, which prevents a woman from losing her own bone density when she's growing a baby inside of her body. Fit Pregnancy sayhs most prenatal vitamins don't contain the 1,000 mg of calcium recommended daily, though, so you'll want to supplement your prenatal vitamin with something like Tums, which will help you make up the difference and reach the daily recommended amount.
The other nutrients, iodine and iron, are important for your baby's development as well. WebMd explains, telling moms-to-be the following:
"Iodine is critical for a woman’s healthy thyroid function during pregnancy. A deficiency in iodine can cause stunted physical growth, severe mental disability, and deafness. Not enough iodine can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth Iron helps blood — in both the mother and baby — carry oxygen."
Make sure to ask your doctor for a recommendation for a prenatal vitamin, since he or she might test for personal vitamin deficiencies that you'll want to supplement. You also don't want to exceed the maximum recommended doses for each vitamin, either, because that can cause problems with your baby's development as well. In other words, you won't help your baby (or yourself) if you take more than the recommended dose. In fact, you could caused some permanent damage.
If you're having trouble keeping anything down, let alone a daily vitamin, try taking your prenatal vitamin at nighttime so that you can sleep through the nausea. Or, if that doesn't work, look for a chewable or gummy option that might be easier on your stomach, and take your vitamin with a few crackers or a piece of toast. And of course, if you're experiencing severe nausea and vomiting — like hyperemesis gravidarum, which the American Pregnancy Association (APA) describes as, "severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance" — you should speak to your OB-GYN and/or health care physician immediately.
Self-care is always important, but it's pretty damn vital when you're pregnant. Taking a prenatal vitamin once a day can help your body do what it needs to do in order to grow a healthy newborn, so make it a point to take care of you, so your body can take care of your baby.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.