Prenatal vitamins

When a woman is pregnant she has to increase her intake in order to take in enough nutritionally to support both the needs of herself and her unborn infant. This is the reason that women are prescribed prenatal vitamins in order to make sure that both women and their infants receive all the supplements that they need to support the pregnancy and to produce a healthy infant.

So what exactly is in prenatal vitamins and what role do they play in pregnancy and for a healthy fetus? The first role they play is to supply a complete set of multivitamins that will make up for any dietary deficiency that a pregnant woman might have. Next, prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, calcium, and iron which are equally important to a pregnant mother and unborn fetus.

Folic acid is extremely important in the fact that if a woman gets enough folic acid in her diet, the chances of her having a child with a serious type of birth defect called a neural tube defect are greatly reduced. Neural tube defects are genetic defects that affect the brain and the spinal cord.

One of the most common neural tube birth defects is called spina bifida. This is a condition where the spinal cord and vertebrae or back bones do not close off. The spinal cord and the nerves are exposed. In severe cases, the cord and nerves may be outside the body in a cyst like substance called a meningomyelocele.

Most of the neural tube defects happen during the first month of pregnancy, so it is recommended that any woman contemplating pregnancy take a folic acid supplement or multivitamin with folic acid even before becoming pregnant. Natural sources of folic acid are oranges, orange juice, breads, fortified cereals, lettuce, tomatoes, turnips, avocados, peas, beans, bananas, papayas, cantaloupes, and eggs.

Calcium is another substance that is added to prenatal vitamins that is very important to both pregnant women and their unborn child. If a pregnant woman does not get enough calcium while pregnant, she may lose calcium and bone density to the fetus during the pregnancy. This is very true if teenage mothers as they are still growing while they are pregnant and need higher amounts of calcium due to their ongoing needs in addition to the needs of their fetus.

Iron supplements are necessary in order to make sure that there is enough hemoglobin or oxygen in the blood. Human blood requires iron in order to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. Without it, the body does not oxygenate properly and can in extreme cases become anemic. This can affect both mother and fetus.

It is also important to be seen by a health care practitioner early in pregnancy and be prescribed the proper prenatal vitamins for each woman. Not every prenatal vitamin is the same. A medical doctor or midwife can examine a woman and evaluate her as to her individual needs. They can then prescribe the proper vitamins and supplements that they feel will be the best for that woman during her pregnancy. They may also prescribe other things depending upon the situation and according to laboratory work that is done at the time. So it is vital to be evaluated early in pregnancy to make sure women are getting the right prescription for their pregnancy and situation.

Finally even though prenatal vitamins will be prescribed for every pregnancy, different diets will be advised for women depending on her situation. Women with gestational diabetes or hypertension will have different dietary needs than women who have an uneventful pregnancy.

Last updated on Jul 21st, 2009 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals, Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Prenatal vitamins”

  1. A distinction needs to be made between synthetic and natural Stargate Nutrition vitamins. This is so important to do. To be honest it scares me as regards what the effects might be of the chemicals. You do need to be supplementing your diet but not with chemical. Time to get natural vitamins.

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