Good day bloggers,
We are striving hard to live a healthy way and health comes from 5 essential elements namely protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals. Proteins, fats & carbohydrates are called macronutrients as, they are required in large quantities, and required for the growth and repair of the body structure. The substances which are required in small quantities are called micronutrients and vitamins and minerals are these micronutrients. A healthy diet is an ideal way to get adequate and necessary vitamins and minerals for every human being but what about the increased nutrients during pregnancy?
Increased nutrient needs during pregnancy make it very difficult to get enough of such key nutrients from diet alone. Most doctors will recommend a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy to ensure continuous intake of key nutrients throughout the pregnancy. After all, getting pregnant and staying pregnant to deliver full term is an affair of almost 9 months.
In this blog, we will look into prenatal vitamins and update our understanding of them.
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy, to ensure the optimal development of the baby as well as the mother.
Why these are called supplements?
Any substance which needs to be taken additionally as a daily staple diet is unable to offer the same. These substances are studied scientifically and their benefits are proven and time tested to improve health called supplements. There are proven roles of such supplements.
How are prenatal vitamins different from other vitamins often prescribed?
Prenatal vitamins usually contain higher levels of folic acid and iron than other adult vitamins. These prenatal vitamins are gathered under a group to address the nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy.
Gummy vitamins, which are quite popular, are usually more expensive and often don’t contain iron and some other key nutrients needed during pregnancy.
What should we look for in a prenatal vitamin?
The vitamin combinations can be rather confusing and daunting for the average person, and even more confusing for someone who may not understand the label well.
To keep it simple, we can look for the following nutrients in a prenatal vitamin:
Primary important are: Folic Acid: 400 mcg • Iron: 30 mg • Iodine: 150 mcg
Other important nutrients include • Vitamin D • Calcium • DHA • Zinc • Vitamin C • Vitamin A • Vitamin E • Copper • B Vitamins etc.
A prenatal vitamin that includes Folic Acid, Iron, and Iodine, will offer adequate amounts of most other nutrients stated above.
How to know more about these prenatal supplements?
The need for nutrition is assessed timely by the governing bodies and RDA (required dietary allowance) values are updated periodically. These prenatal supplements need to be taken under a doctor’s guidance. Let’s focus on key prenatal vitamins now.
Many women may have heard about folate which is vitamin B9, or its synthetic form, folic acid. This nutrient is critical in preventing neural tube defects as well as manufacturing new cells and tissues.
Like folate, choline is another micronutrient, which is important for a baby’s brain and nervous system.
Iron is also important during pregnancy, as the body’s iron requirement increases to support the increased blood supply for growing the baby. Another challenge as a country we face is anaemia during pregnancy. There is still a long way to go to battle anaemia.
Vitamin D: It is a sunshine nutrient. Vitamin D can reduce the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and low birth weight.
Magnesium: prenatal magnesium is effective in increasing birth weight.
Are all prenatal supplements the same?
Not. The best supplement offers the right nutrients in the right forms that our body can recognize and use it. The most preferred form is organic which is derived from a natural source. Like Vit C from the lemon. The inorganic form of vitamins is partially absorbed and may cause other ill effects. That is why it is advisable to take the supplements under a doctor’s guidance strictly.
Is the heaviest composition of vitamin supplements better? Are individual supplements the best?
More isn’t necessarily better. Pregnant women should not take individual supplements in addition to prenatal vitamins unless specifically instructed to do so by the treating doctor. High levels of some vitamins and minerals disturb the other elements from being absorbed and over-consumption of some vitamins and minerals may cause harm to the fetus.
Which conditions might contribute to a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy?
If any of these risk factors are identified, a high-risk care plan needs to be in place along with frequent visits to the doctor.
• Adolescence who is anaemia; • Pregnant with multiple babies • History of Substance abuse including tobacco, and alcohol use •Those taking certain medications that can alter absorption; • Malabsorption syndromes and inflammatory bowel disease; • Strict vegetarians and vegans (deficient in vitamin D and B-12)* • Eating disorders • Lactose intolerance • Severe hyperemesis (morning sickness) patients • Previous History of neural-tube defects.
The newer, better compositions or formulations of prenatal vitamins are available in the market and are needed along with an energy-rich, nutrient diet. The supplement is not a substitute for eating wholesome food. Adopting a rainbow diet that is full of colours is pleasing to add to a routine diet.
We at Pearl women’s hospital and Yash IVF have special attention to natural birthing and an advisory board comprises of a dietician, exercise consultant, Physiotherapist, and midwives excellence along with an experienced team of gynaecologists to monitor the regularly scheduled visits of the patients and ensure them towards the most enjoyable journey of motherhood