What are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal Vitamins are a supplement which fill the nutrition gap in your diet. These supplements are taken both before and after conceiving. They contain all the required nutrients your body needs during pregnancy. Doctors normally suggest to take prenatal vitamins 2 months before you are trying to conceive as it helps in increasing the chances of conceiving and also prevent any type of fetal defect.
If you are trying to conceive then you need to have a balanced and healthy diet which might not be possible to achieve in your everyday eating habits.
A good tablet or capsule will contain:
Folic acid or folate: Folic acid is a must in pregnancy as it prevents birth defects like neural tube defect. It is important for the fetal brain and spinal cord formation and growth.
Omega 3 fatty acid: It is important in brain development of the baby. It also reduces the chances of preterm birth and low birth weight of the baby.
Iron: Iron is required for the proper placental function and fetal development. More iron means more red blood cell (RBCs) available to pump blood with dissolved oxygen to the baby through placenta.
Vitamins A, B,C, D, and E: All these vitamins are important in pregnancy as they prevent first trimester miscarriages and helps in bone development of the fetus.
Calcium: Calcium helps to maintain the bone density of the mother and it also supports in bone development of the baby.
Choline: Choline promotes the healthy brain growth of the baby.
When to start Supplements?
They should be taken 2 months or at least 1 month before as you are trying for a baby. Folic acid or folate is much important for conceiving a healthy baby without neural defect. Before taking any supplements please do consult your health provider and take any supplement according to their direction.
How long to take Prenatal Vitamins?
You should take such supplements throughout your pregnancy and even after delivery. Many doctors recommend to take these supplements throughout breastfeed years. Taking supplements during breastfeed also provide health benefit to your little one.
It is not necessary that these vitamins will help for sure but they are considered a valid option in trying to conceive as they plan the body for the coming pregnancy changes if conception occurs. If you miss your period then do look for pregnancy symptoms.
Are there any side effects?
Taking medicines as prescribed is very important. You should not exceed the daily requirement even in pregnancy as it can be harmful to your baby also e.g. Vitamin A if taken in excess quantity is harmful to baby.
Due to the presence of iron they can cause constipation and can change the stool color. It is better to take a stool softener if this problem persists but only upon doctors’ consultation.
Drink plenty of fluids and water and have high fiber diet in order to keep yourself hydrated and free from constipation.