As a registered nurse who has worked in the ICU, I’ve learned how important it is during pregnancy for mothers and babies to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals. By taking prenatal vitamins there are many problems that mothers and their babies can avoid. With such a simple solution to so many birth defects it would be ridiculous not to take a Prenatal Vitamin. Why are prenatal vitamins so important? Let’s take a look.
Every Year in the United States
- 875,000 woman experience one or more pregnancy complications
- 459,000 babies are born to mothers without adequate prenatal care
- 467,000 babies are born prematurely
- 307,000 babies are born with Low Birth Weight
- 154,000 children are born with Birth Defects
- 28,000 infants die before their first birthday
Are All Prenatal Vitamins The Same?
Not all prenatal vitamins are the same as some people might tell you. When choosing a prenatal vitamin there are a few things that you should consider before buying , such as ingredients, quality of ingredients, percentage of ingredients, and the ability of ingredients to absorb into your body.
Essential Ingredients To Take During Pregnancy
There are certain ingredients that should be found in a prenatal vitamin to help you and your baby during pregnancy. Not all prenatal vitamins contain these important ingredients and for what reason I do not know. All of these ingredients are helpful during pregnancy and can help you and your baby remain healthy during and after pregnancy.
Important Ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin
- Folate or Folic Acid
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A, C, B, D, and E
Choline and Inositol have also shown important health benefits to mothers and babies and I would recommend them also, but they may be hard to find. All of these vitamins and minerals will help you and your baby through different stages of your pregnancy. For the mother these necessary vitamins and minerals will help your body remain within balance during this demanding time and for your baby these vitamins and minerals can help reduce abnormalities, and increase your child’s learning ability in life.
How These Ingredients Help
DHA – DHA plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the central nervous system as well as visual functioning in infants.
Folic Acid – Folic acid helps prevent serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid may also decrease the risk of other birth defects, preterm delivery and low birth weight. Folic acid of one of the most important pregnancy vitamins. Prenatalgyn contains 800mcg of folic acid.
Calcium – Promotes strong bones and teeth for both mother and baby. Calcium also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems function normally.
Iron – Supports the development of blood and muscle cells for both mother and baby. Iron helps prevent anemia, and may also decrease the risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight.
Ginger – Ginger is effective for relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Choline – Choline has been shown to reduce the rate of neural tube defects. It also reduces the risk for premature birth, preeclampsia, and very low birth
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – CoQ10 is found in every cell of your body. Your cells use it to produce energy needed for cell growth and maintenance. CoQ10 is used to help heart function, cardiac strength, energy and stamina. It is also a Powerful Antioxidant
Reduces risk of developing pre-eclampsia by 10%, according to a study published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
200mg per serving (amount included in study)
Probiotics – Probiotics have been found to provide a healthy gastrointestinal system, prevents heartburn, constipation, cramping, diahrrhea, nausea, and recently has been linked to help reduce childhood obesity and weight gain of the mother. Immune system of your infant will also benefit from this probiotic blend.
Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps your body metabolize protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It also helps form new red blood cells, antibodies, and neurotransmitters, and is vital to your baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
Percentage of Ingredients
As for the percentage of each of these ingredients I would recommend looking for 400mcg of folate (preferably 800-1000). For DHA 50mg-200mg is a must. I would also recommend 25-50mg of Vitamin B6 and at least 50% of the United States Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) of calcium, which is 1500mg, so look for a supplement containing 750mg of calcium or more. For information on how each of these ingredients keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy go to the Ingredient page.
Absorption of Vitamins
The next thing you need to look for when choosing a prenatal vitamin is how well the supplement breaks down in your stomach, this is called dissolution.
Prenatal vitamins in the form of capsules, soft gels, and liquids break down easier in your stomach when compared to tablets. Many types of tablets breakdown too slow in your stomach which in turn causes problems with absorption.
If the nutrients are not absorbed into your system correctly you may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.