Why You Should Take Prenatal Vitamins Before, During, and After Pregnancy
Dec 16, 2021
As winter quickly approaches, human hibernation moves into its peak. This means that baby-making season is coming into full effect as we spend more time with our partners indoors. Although sometimes unplanned, pregnancy can be a heartwarming experience. Mom-To-Be wants to do the best she can to have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
Incorporating a nutrient-rich eating regimen is the most ideal way to stay healthy during pregnancy, but prenatal vitamins will ensure a filling of nutritional gaps. They take the guessing game out of proper nutrient intake, ensuring that the growing fetus gets all they need. Taking prenatal vitamins before, during, and after pregnancy can be very beneficial to both the mom and baby. Here is why.
What are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are similar to multivitamins in that they both contain an array of vitamins and minerals that support overall health. The difference with a prenatal is that they have an increased amount of specific nutrients like Folic Acid, Iron, and DHA, which assists in the prevention of neural tubal defects and promotes proper fetal development. As the fetus grows, so do their needs, which is where the importance of prenatal vitamins comes in. Prenatal vitamins support all stages of development and help to keep the mother and baby healthy. They are usually available in capsules, but can also be purchased in liquid, powder, and tablet form. Talk to your doctor about the best prenatal vitamin for you.
Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy
If you are planning to have a baby, taking prenatal vitamins when trying to conceive isn’t such a bad idea. Although it’s hard to tell whether it will take weeks or months before conception, all one needs is the intention of getting pregnant to start taking a prenatal. The first few weeks of development are of utmost importance. One should start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 1 month before conception. Taking a prenatal can help in preventing tubal defects and also keep the mother’s energy afloat. The reality is, there is a codependent fetus growing inside of you that will take all the nutrients it needs to develop. This can leave the mother feeling drained, irritable, nauseous, and most importantly nutrient deficient. Taking a prenatal before pregnancy isn’t just for the baby’s benefit, but for the mother as well. Think of it as filling up your gas tank before going on a long trip. You want to keep the ride smooth and hassle-free, vs running out of gas on the open road. Boosting your nutrition before pregnancy with food and vitamins is your best bet.
Doctors will often recommend Folic Acid, a very important B vitamin. It is more often than not present in your prenatal, but depending on many factors, your doctor may suggest you take the vitamin on its own. Folic acid is responsible for creating the baby’s neural tube, the structure that eventually forms the spinal column and brain. Lack of folic acid could result in an underdeveloped neural tube which can result in spina bifida and anencephaly. Depending on family history and current health, the dosage recommendation will vary amongst women.
Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy
The reasons for taking a prenatal vitamin while pregnant coincide with the same reasons why you would take it beforehand. You want to keep the tank (the body) filled with nutrients, fresh juices, and water to ensure babies’ healthy development and a rich supply of breastmilk. There are many prenatal vitamins out there on the market so ensure to invest in one that carries all staple nutrients, including DHA. DHA is a part of Omega 3 fatty acids (along with EPA), which is essential for healthy fetal tissue, brain development, and cognitive function. When supplementing with DHA during pregnancy, there is a lower chance of premature labor and a higher chance of healthy birth weight. The health benefits of DHA are endless and a clean Prenatal DHA supplementation would prove most beneficial as the body doesn’t manufacture Omega 3 and must be consumed from external sources.
Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamin After Pregnancy
If you are breastfeeding, taking a prenatal after birth can be quite beneficial. Once the baby is born, they still have much growing to do and their dependency on you is even greater.
Breastmilk is the ultimate superfood for babies. It contains specific compounds that fortify the baby’s gut and acts like a natural vaccine, containing key antibodies to help build the baby’s immunity. Its nutrient and water-rich content, with an adequate dose of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, helps the babies develop at a healthy pace. During this time, babies take all the nutrients they need, which can take a toll on the lactating mother as she eats to keep her own body nourished, she still must intake enough nutrients to supply to her baby. Taking prenatal vitamins after pregnancy prevents nutritional deficiencies in the mother and can also contribute to a healthy flow of breastmilk.
Even if you are not breastfeeding, restoring the body after 9 months of consistent draining of nutrients is wise. Giving birth to a baby takes a lot of energy out of you. The average amount of blood lost in a single baby delivery is about 500ml. This does not include the menstruation period afterward or the possible hemorrhaging that can occur unexpectedly. When blood is lost so is oxygen (energy) and nutrients that are within it. Prenatal vitamins replace lost nutrients after pregnancy and can be taken for up to 3 months or longer if you are breastfeeding.
All in all, having a baby is a beautiful experience but is also a serious undertaking. Prenatal vitamins fill nutritional gaps, steer mothers away from nutritional deficiencies, and help to ensure a healthy baby is born. Ensure you are taking specific nutrients like folic acid to aid in protecting the brain, iron to keep red blood cells and oxygen supply stable, and DHA to ensure proper brain development and function. Prenatal vitamins are of utmost importance along with a whole foods diet and ample amounts of water. It’s cuffing season and more babies are conceived during this time, so stay up to date with valuable resources for every stage of development and have a safe and healthy pregnancy.