What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are pretty amazing. Their job is to provide important nutrients you need during pregnancy that you may not always get from diet alone (sardines, anyone?). They also help support the development of your baby, both before and after they’re born – while you are breastfeeding. Plus, prenatal vitamins are not just for expecting mommies; women who are thinking about a baby, trying for a baby or are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor about taking them, too.
With so many prenatal vitamin brands to choose from—along with their varying claims, nutrients and ingredients—it can be confusing trying to figure out what you need most. That’s why we did the research for you, so you know what to look for in prenatal vitamins.
Folate to Support Fetal Development
Folate is a B vitamin and is an absolute must for expecting moms. Folate acts by nourishing your baby’s developing nervous system and protecting them against certain birth defects, including spinal cord and brain abnormalities. While including folate-rich foods into your diet is important, prenatal vitamins can help you and your baby get the recommended amount.
Omega-3 DHA to Support Brain Health
It’s a no-brainer why omega-3 DHA gets a lot of buzz in the baby community. That’s because it is a fatty acid that aids in your baby’s brain and eye development. Considering this nutrient is found in foods like trout and sardines, it can be a little tougher to get the right amount from diet alone. Prenatal supplements with omega-3 DHA can play a crucial role in supporting your baby’s brain development.
Consider This: The amount of omega-3 DHA recommend for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding normally requires taking multiple pills or a prescription. Look for a prenatal vitamin that has all the DHA needed in one, easy-to-take pill.
Calcium to Support Bone Health
Calcium, one of the superstars in the vitamin world, is a key nutrient to look for in a prenatal supplement. That’s because it’s important for the development of your baby’s precious little bones. Even though yummy foods like yogurt and cheese are chalk full of calcium, a prenatal vitamin can help make sure that you and your baby get the recommended amount. This is especially true if you are lactose intolerant or just aren’t fond of dairy.
Consider This: Your body can't make calcium, so you need to get it from food or supplements. While you're pregnant, try to get at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day.
Now that you know what prenatal vitamins are and what nutrients to look for, discuss with your doctor about a prenatal multivitamin that is best for you and your baby.