It is important to take prenatal vitamins for a variety of reasons. Even if you eat a relatively healthy and balanced diet, it is likely that there are specific nutrients that you are not getting enough of during pregnancy. Having said that, it is important to know what exactly is in prenatal vitamins that is going to help you and your baby during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body’s need for some nutrients increases greatly. Prenatal vitamins contain many nutrients that you wouldn’t otherwise get enough of. In particular, most prenatal vitamins are going to have folic acid, calcium, and iron. The reason that it is important for a woman to take prenatal vitamins to get enough of these nutrients is different for each nutrient.
Folic acid, for example, is an important part of prenatal vitamins because folic acid is known to reduce your risk of your baby having a neural tube defect. The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida, a condition in which the baby is born with a spine that in not closed. This causes the baby’s nerves to be exposed, which will then be damaged, and lead to problems such as paralysis, mental retardation, and incontinence. Yet, taking just 400 micrograms of folic acid every day should be a sufficient amount for a woman to avoid that extra risk of neural tube defect.
Calcium is another important part of prenatal vitamins. Taking prenatal vitamins gives an expectant mother the extra calcium that her body is going to need to help prevent the expectant mother from losing bone density of her own while her baby is using calcium to grow his or her own bones.
Iron is an important part of prenatal vitamins, as well. Iron is known to help both the expectant mother’s and her baby’s blood to carry oxygen.
If you are having difficulty with your prenatal vitamin, you should speak with your health care provider. Some women, for example, may find that the high iron content in prenatal vitamins causes nausea, and that when they take their prenatal vitamins their morning sickness is worse. Your health care provider may be able to suggest another way, for example, for you to get your iron, and to offer a prenatal vitamin without iron.