A pregnant woman’s body needs support. The mother has to make sure she and the baby are healthy. Supplementing the diet with prenatal multivitamins is very beneficial. These vitamins are sold over-the-counter at most pharmacies. Further, the ob/gyn may write a prescription for certain vitamins. A good prenatal vitamin should contain lots of folic acid, calcium and iron. In addition, zinc, copper and Vitamins D, C and A are helpful to baby.
Pregnant women need larger amounts of certain vitamins. For instance, folic acid is very important during a pregnancy. It helps to prevent neural tube defects. These types of defects involve the brain and spinal cord. Likewise, pregnant women need lots of iron. Iron helps the baby’s development during all stages of growth. Further, iron prevents anemia, a lack of good red blood cells. Anemia during pregnancy may result in one of the following:
- pre-term labor
- low birth-weight baby
- postpartum depression
- a baby with developmental challenges
To detect anemia, the doctor orders a hemoglobin test. Hemoglobin contains iron and is a protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Additionally, a hematocrit test is done. This test measures how many red blood cells one has. If the results of either test are low, the patient is at risk for anemia. As a result, the patient needs a prenatal vitamin rich in iron. Likewise, calcium and Vitamin D are very important during the third trimester. These nutrients ensure that the baby’s bones are strong.
The average prenatal vitamins does not contain fish oil. Experts say a fish oil supplement should be added to the regimen. That is because omega-3 fatty acids support baby’s brain development. The best fish oil comes from cold-water oily fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines. Prenatal vitamins have few side effects other than constipation. Therefore, women should drink lots of water. In addition, a fiber-rich diet helps with constipation. Also, expectant mothers should stay as active as possible. Being pregnant is a joyous occasion and the body needs to be prepared. Make sure you and the baby are taken care of.