Do I need to take vitamins for pregnant women?
Taking vitamins for pregnant women is really necessary, because getting all the nutrients you and your child need from food alone is difficult enough, even if your food includes a wide range of foods, including meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, cereals, and legumes.
The intake of special vitamins is even more important for women with certain nutritional restrictions associated with the state of health, as well as for women with pregnancy complications. These women include those who:
- prefer only vegetarian food
- suffer from lactose intolerance or intolerance to other foods
- smoke or abuse alcohol;
- have certain blood diseases;
- have chronic diseases;
- gastric bypass surgery;
- bear multiple pregnancies.
If you are a supporter of nutrition, then you get most of the vitamins you need from food. But there are two important nutrients – folic acid (vitamin B9) and iron (Fe) – which you can not get in sufficient quantities only from food. Therefore, they are always included in any vitamin for pregnant women!
Getting enough of this vitamin can reduce the risk of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida and anencephaly) in your child by almost 70%.
Vitamin B9 can also reduce the risk of other birth defects (wolf mouth and cleft lip) and congenital heart defects. Taking folic acid, you also reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.
Your body digests the synthetic version of vitamin B9 better than the one contained in food, so even if you eat a balanced diet, it is strongly recommended to take multivitamins for expectant mothers or individual folic acid preparations.
Most pregnant women do not get enough of this mineral from their diet. Accordingly, they do not satisfy the increased need of their body in the gland during pregnancy, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. The intake of vitamins for pregnant women will help to avoid iron deficiency anemia, and thereby reduce the risk of premature birth, the likelihood of a small child and the risk of infant mortality.
Calcium during pregnancy is necessary to ensure that your child has strong and healthy bones (including teeth), a healthy nervous and muscular system (in particular, the heart muscles).
Most prenatal vitamins contain from 100 to 200 mg of calcium, so when choosing a vitamin complex, carefully study its composition on the label.
This fat-soluble vitamin is involved in the formation of the bones and teeth of your child. Vitamin D maintains a normal level of phosphorus in the body and also improves the absorption of calcium.
If you have a vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, then your child will suffer from his lack of birth. This increases the risk of developing rickets in the child, which can lead to bone fractures and deformities, and also leads to bone growth disorders and delayed physical development.
Deficiency of vitamin D in a future mother also greatly increases the risk of developing pre-eclampsia, and such women often need a cesarean section.
How to choose the right vitamins for pregnant women?
During your first appointment, your gynecologist should recommend that you start taking the appropriate vitamins for pregnant women, but you can buy other vitamins if you think it is necessary (just discuss it with your doctor first!).
Pay attention to the composition of prenatal vitamins: they should contain the maximum amount of iron and folic acid, but there must be a minimum of substances that can harm your child, especially vitamin A (retinol)
Vitamin A, derived from animal products (retinol), can cause birth defects in the child if taken in high doses. That’s why vitamin A in most prenatal vitamins is presented in the form of carotenoids (mainly in the form of beta-carotene).
β-carotene (beta-carotene) is a nutrient found in fruits and vegetables, and the body itself turns it into vitamin A. Unlike ready-made vitamin A (retinol), beta-carotene is considered safe even in high doses.
Essential Fatty Acids
Unfortunately, vitamins for pregnant women do not contain essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 (DHA and EPA) fatty acids, which are important for the development of the baby’s brain, its nerve and eye tissues. Therefore, you need to take care to receive these acids from food.
The main source of DHA and EPA is fish, but you must be careful when using fish during pregnancy, as it is very difficult to control the content of mercury in it.
Talk with your doctor about the possibility of taking additional supplements that contain omega-3 acids.
What if vitamins have the stomach and intestinal problems?
If your vitamins contain more than 30 mg of iron, then this can disrupt the functioning of your gastrointestinal tract. Prenatal vitamins that contain 30 mg or less of iron are unlikely to cause you such problems.
Taking too large doses of iron can lead to constipation, cause nausea and (rarely) diarrhea. If from the reception of vitamins your stomach is upset, your stomach hurts, nausea or diarrhea has appeared, tell your doctor about it. Perhaps you can help change the vitamins for pregnant women or adjust the dose of iron-containing drugs, if, of course, you take them (in particular, to treat iron deficiency anemia).