What are pre-natal vitamins?
These vitamins are specially formulated to help mothers-to-be with their own health as well as for the health of their babies. These vitamins make up for any nutritional deficiencies in your diet during your pregnancy. While the supplements contain numerous vitamins and minerals, their folic acid, iron, and calcium content are especially important.
Why do pregnant women need high levels of folic acid, iron, and calcium?
Taking folic acid can reduce your risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect of the brain and spinal cord, called the neural tube. A baby with spina bifida, the most common neural tube defect, is born with a spine that is not completely developed. The exposed nerves are damaged, leaving the child with varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence, and sometimes mental retardation. Neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception.
Because about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, it is advisable that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. There are natural sources of folic acid: green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.
Taking calcium during pregnancy can prevent a new mother from losing her own bone density as the foetus uses the mineral for bone growth.
Taking iron helps both the mother and baby's blood carry oxygen.
While you are pregnant the healthy diet should be maintain. Drink plenty of water. Some fats are particularly important during pregnancy because they support your baby's brain and eye development – both before and after birth. Fats also help the placenta and other tissues grow, and studies show that some fats may help prevent preterm birth and low birth weight. Examples of foods that contain food fats are sunflower, olive, rapeseed, and peanut oils, as well as in olives, avocado, nuts, and nut butters. They're considered "good" fats because they're best at lowering cholesterol.
Why do you need to take vitamins?
While a daily vitamin supplement is no substitute for a healthy diet, most women need supplements to make sure they get adequate levels of these minerals. A selection of vitamins can be found below.