Whether you are trying to fall pregnant, or just found out that you are already pregnant (congratulations!), it is essential that you introduce prenatal vitamins into your diet. Yes, even if you have been having a healthy and balanced diet all this while. Why so?
Our body will still be short of key vitamins and nutrients that it needs to conceive, and if you are already pregnant, the food you are consuming may not have enough of vitamins to distribute for two. This is why doctors usually recommend prenatal vitamins when you visit them for advice.
Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe you prenatal vitamins and these will not be available without a prescription. The good news is, there are also many over the counter prenatal vitamins that you can choose from in pharmacies.
This is a big topic with many things that you should know about these little pills, so click on the links below to lead you to your topic of interest. Otherwise, lets first go the most burning question that most of you have - what are the best over the counter prenatal vitamins?
1. The Top 5 Best Over the Counter Prenatal Vitamins
2. What to Look for in Prenatal Vitamins
You may wonder: what is the difference between regular vitamins and prenatal vitamins?
The answer is, prenatal vitamins should consist the following 4 vitamins and minerals in the recommended amount per day, which may not necessarily be available in regular vitamins.
1. Folic Acid (0.4mg)- Also known as vitamin B-9, this is probably the most important vitamin as it helps to reduce the risk of birth defects, spina bifida and anencephaly. If you can, we recommend getting those with folate, which is vitamin B-9 in its natural form as folic acid is a synthetic ingredient.
2. Iron (27mg) - Iron supports blood building and is something pregnant women should ramp up in because you need it not just for yourself, but for baby too. But beware, just like everything else, too much can be harmful so don't overdo it. Check with your doctor too as every body differs. You may not need the prenatal dosage, after all!
3. Calcium (1000mg) - Your baby needs this to grow healthy bones, teeth, heart, nerves and muscles. If you don't have enough of it, your baby will draw it from your bones which will impair your bone health later on. Even after giving birth and finished breastfeeding, continue to pay attention to your calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis or bone density loss.
4. Iodine (220mcg) - This is essential for the development of your baby's brain and nervous system, as well as metabolism system. It is also important to regulate your thyroid gland. Most prenatal vitamins will have sufficient iodine in them.
All recommendations in our prenatal vitamins reviews above fulfil the above, so you can purchase in assurance.
3. What is the best time to take prenatal vitamins
Taking prenatal vitamins only after you got pregnant is a misconception.
It has been recommended that adult women take this supplement to keep their reproductive system healthy, but it's never too late - you can start taking them today. If you are planning to conceive, you should also start taking immediately as they are the best prenatal vitamins before pregnancy.. Studies have proven that prenatal vitamins increase the chances of women falling pregnant.
It IS a MUST to take them while you are pregnant, and you should follow the dosage recommended by the brand, or as prescribed by your doctor. One way we find that makes it easier to remember is to eat it after each meal (if it's three times a day) so that you don't forget. If it's two times, take it in the morning and night.
There really isn't one best time to take it - every body differs. As long as it suits your timetable and you don't get an upset stomach from it, then that is your best time to take prenatal vitamins.
4. What are the side effects of prenatal vitamins
Just like morning sickness, the side effects of prenatal vitamins differ for every woman. What may trigger somebody else may not happen to you at all.
Nonetheless, the common side effects reported by women are upset stomach, nausea, constipation and sometimes loss of appetite. For the first two problems, you may consider switching your supplements to this and this. They are well known for their gentle effect on the stomach. Or you can try eating it with your meals or even blend it into your smoothies (we know this works for many!).
We recommend seeing your doctor to check your body before taking any supplements as it may be the case that your body has sufficient iron and thus may not require any additional in supplement form. We are by no means experts in the medical field so always, always run everything by your doctor first to ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy journey!