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Prenatal vitamins are required to achieve and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins include vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to be taken before and during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins include folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. This article will help you to understand when to start taking prenatal vitamins.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Vitamin performs vital functions inside the body. They are related to energy production, building new cells, and helps in improving the immune system. Prenatal vitamins help to improve the chances of conception in women planning for pregnancy. The vitamins that are required before and during the gestation period are termed as prenatal vitamins. During pregnancy, the requirement of certain vitamins is increased. This indicates that supplementation with prenatal vitamins is different from general multivitamin supplementation. It is advisable to take prenatal vitamins such as folic acid in case you are planning to get pregnant. It is because the development of a fetus gets initiated before you know about your pregnancy.
What Are The Various Types Of Prenatal Vitamins?
Almost every woman will have a doubt of when to start taking prenatal vitamins? But it is always advised to consult your gynecologist as she will advise you depending upon your requirements. Prenatal vitamins are also prescribed depending upon your previous medical history and underlying medical conditions. Prenatal vitamins contain various vitamins and minerals. Generally following prenatal vitamins are prescribed;
1. Folic Acid
Folic acid helps in preventing neural tube defects and ensures the development of a healthy nervous system.
2. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 along with folic acid helps in the development of a healthy nervous system.
3. Vitamin D
Apart from assisting calcium in bone development, Vitamin D also reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, and low birth weight.
Iron helps in reducing the risk of anemia, a condition characterized by the low level of RBCs.
Calcium is very important for strengthening the bones in a growing fetus. It is especially important during the third trimester when the bones are developing at a faster rate. Some studies also indicate that calcium also prevents and reduces the severity of preeclampsia.
5. Other Prenatal Vitamins
Various other prenatal vitamins required for healthy fetus development include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iodine copper, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
How Prenatal Vitamins Helps In Achieving And Maintaining Healthy Pregnancy?
Following are the advantages of taking prenatal vitamins;
1. Neurological Development
Prenatal vitamins help in the neurological development of the fetus. These vitamins also reduce the risk of serious medical conditions. Folic acid along with vitamin B12, for instance, reduces the risk of spina bifida.
2. Skeletal System Development
During pregnancy, the requirement of calcium increases because of fetal bone formation. Deficiency of calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy may result in abnormal bone development in the baby as well as increased risk of preeclampsia in women.
3. Cardiovascular Health
Omega-3 fatty acid, Vitamin E, Iron, Vitamin B12, and Folic acid promotes the cardiovascular health of the fetus.
4. Reduced Risk Of Various Diseases
Prenatal vitamins also reduce the risk of diseases. Iodine reduces the risk of goiter.
Is There Any Perscription Required For Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are available Over-The-Counter at almost all pharmacies. No prescription is required for purchasing prenatal vitamins. However, it is advised to consult with your doctor before taking any medicine including prenatal vitamins during pregnancy.
When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
If you have a doubt of when to start taking prenatal vitamins then it is best to ask your doctor and follow as she advises. Generally, prenatal vitamins are taken before the start of pregnancy when women are planning to achieve pregnancy. The intake may be continued throughout pregnancy.
How Long You Should Take Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy?
Though most prenatal vitamins are required after the pregnancy has been confirmed but some prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid should be started at least one month before a woman tries to attain pregnancy. You may ask your doctor for more information regarding which prenatal vitamin you should start before pregnancy.
Is There Any Difference Between Prenatal Vitamins And Other Vitamin Supplements?
There is indeed a difference between normal multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins totally focus on the growth and development of the fetus and taking the mother through a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins generally have an increased quantity of calcium, iron, and folic acid as compared to normal vitamin supplements.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Any Side Effects?
As with other medications taken during pregnancy, prenatal vitamins may also have certain side effects. These side effects include;
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastric irritation
In case you are struggling with the side effects. Consult with your doctor.
What Happens If Prenatal Vitamins Are Not Administered?
Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy may increase the risk of complications in both fetus and to-be mother. For instance, deficiency of folic acid may cause neurological disorder and deficiency of iron may lead to iron. However, if you are on a healthy diet, you may either require a small dose of prenatal vitamins or may not require them at all. We hope now you got a clear idea of when to start taking prenatal vitamins.