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Prenatal Vitamins: What Should You Look Out For?

September 6, 2022
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Prenatal vitamins are supplements specially formulated for pregnant women to supply the needed vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are necessary for the health of both mother and baby.

A healthy diet is the best way to get these vitamins and minerals. However, taking prenatal vitamins help cover any nutritional gaps in your diet. Moreso, you may require more than your diet may offer during pregnancy.

Before you take any prenatal vitamin, discuss it with your healthcare provider. You may also contact us at My Virtual Physician.

What to Look for in Prenatal Vitamins

During pregnancy, there are certain vitamins and minerals you need more than ever. These vitamins and minerals are what to look out for when buying prenatal vitamins.

These vitamins and minerals include:

  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B1/thiamine
  • Vitamin B2/riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3/niacin
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Folic Acid

Folic acid is perhaps the most important ingredient in a prenatal vitamin. Folic acid is a vitamin B that helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain and spine.

Experts recommend that women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. This is because neural tube defects develop early in pregnancy, even before many women know they are pregnant.

You can get folic acid naturally from green leafy vegetables, nuts, citrus fruits, and beans.

Iron

Your body needs to make extra red blood cells when pregnant. These red blood cells help carry oxygen around your body and to your baby. Iron is an essential mineral that helps your body make more red blood cells.

Also, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition where your blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells. You should get 27 milligrams of iron every day.

Calcium

Calcium is important for you and your baby. Calcium is vital to the growth and development of bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and organs in your baby. If you do not have enough calcium, you may suffer bone density loss and increase your risk of osteoporosis later in life.

You should get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps promote healthy bones, teeth, eyes, and skin. It also improves your and your baby's immunity. You need about 600IU of vitamin D every day.

Food sources of vitamin D include fortified dairy products, fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), fish liver oils, and egg yolks.

Iodine

Iodine is important for developing your baby's brain, bones, and nervous system. Also, mothers need iodine for adequate thyroid function. 

Iodine deficiency has been linked to miscarriage, preterm delivery, stillbirth, stunted physical growth, and congenital abnormalities.

During pregnancy, you need 220 micrograms of iodine daily. Iodine can be found in dairy products, seafood, and eggs.

B vitamins

B vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12, are key nutrients during pregnancy. These vitamins give you energy, help with nausea (morning sickness), improve your baby's nervous system, help build the placenta, and promote good vision.

Good sources of B vitamins include liver, whole-grain cereal, bananas, chicken, beans, and pork.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C promotes iron absorption and fortifies your immune system. It also helps develop your baby's skin, bones, joints, and connective tissue. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. You should get at least 85 mg of vitamin C daily.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A promotes eye development, good vision, and a healthy immune system in your baby. 

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help promote your baby's brain development, reduce your risk of preterm delivery, and having a baby with low birth weight. Omega-3 fatty acids occur naturally in fatty fish, nuts, flaxseed, kidney beans, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Choline

Choline (about 450mg daily) is necessary for healthy brain growth in your baby. Although your body can make some choline, you get most of it from your diet. Foods rich in choline include eggs, fish, soy products, chicken, beef, peanut, and pork.

Contact Us

A visit to us helps you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. Your virtual physician can help to electronically order prenatal care labs and/or send an order to the nearest radiology facility for you to get an ultrasound.

At My Virtual Physician, we are available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise. We are in network with many insurance health plans, including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

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