Angela Myles, MD
Eating a healthy and balanced meal every day is still the best way to get the right nutrients and vitamins for you and your growing baby. However, prenatal vitamins ensure that you’re bridging any gaps between your food habits and the vitamins you need during pregnancy.
It’s important to note that taking these prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy – they are used as a complement. While prenatal vitamins may complement your diet to ensure you’re getting the right vitamins, it’s important to make sure your diet is also providing the right nutrients for your developing baby. Check out this post to learn about ingredients you can add to your diet during pregnancy.
When should you start and stop taking your prenatal vitamins?
It’s a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins before conceiving, and you should continue taking your prenatal vitamins all the way through your pregnancy, unless otherwise directed by your OB/GYN. In many cases, your physician will suggest that you continue taking them while breastfeeding.
Here are the things you should look for when selecting your vitamins:
- Folic acid (400 micrograms daily)
- Iron (27 milligrams daily)
- Calcium (1000 milligrams daily)
- Vitamin D (600 IU)
- Vitamins A, C and E
- Zinc, Iodine and Copper
Are there any side effects to prenatal vitamins?
Some women may experience symptoms of nausea after taking prenatal vitamins. To combat the queasiness, eat a snack when taking your prenatal vitamin. Another common side effect is constipation. What you can do to prevent it:
- Drink plenty of water
- Ensure that you are getting ample physical exercise after consulting your OB/GYN. Here’s a great post detailing 5 exercises that are safe for pregnant women.
- Add some fiber to your diet
Whichever prenatal vitamins you end up choosing, make sure to consult your OB/GYN!