Trying to conceive a baby is very easy for some women, but for others it can seem like an uphill battle. While getting pregnant is a natural occurrence, the human body still requires certain nutrients to support a growing fetus. Regardless of your fertility, there are several benefits of taking prentatal vitamins before getting pregnant.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Although many expectant mothers derive a large portion of their nutrient intake from the foods they eat, pregnancy (especially during the first trimester) is especially taxing on the human body. Categorized by their specialized blend of nutrients, prenatal vitamins are often used by a mother to promote the proper development of her unborn child. Unlike multivitamins, which are made to promote optimal health for the average person, prenatal vitamins are specially designed to support the physical demands of pregnancy.
Because high-quality prenatal supplements contain such a dense array of vitamins and minerals, they’re usually required, or at least recommended, as part of healthy gestation. As a result, prenatal vitamins are available by prescription or over-the-counter, with each option containing significantly higher contents of the essential nutrients that are commonly found in multivitamins.
What Nutrients Are in Prenatal Vitamins?
It’s important to note that all prenatal vitamins are unique. Even those that are made from the same manufacturer may contain different ingredients. As such, it’s also important to check the label for nutrition information before taking any kind of prenatal vitamin.
In general, however, high-quality prenatal vitamins typically contain the following 5 nutrients:
This essential nutrient is known to reduce and/or completely prevent certain birth defects, namely spina bifida. More than 3000 cases of folic acid-related spina bifida are reported each year in America, according to March of Dimes.
This essential nutrient is vital to the proper development of fetal bone and muscle tissue. It’s also crucial for supporting a healthy gestational weight for both the mother and her unborn child.
This vital nutrient helps prevent anemia – a common setback that many pregnant mothers face – and supports the production of extra blood for the growing fetus.
This essential nutrient aids the mother’s body in creating energy by efficiently breaking down carbohydrates. This, in turn, contributes to a reduction in pregnancy related fatigue while also supporting proper fetal brain development.
This nutrient is essential to pregnancy because it helps regulate both the mother and the child’s blood pressure. It can also reduce muscle cramping and control nerve impulses during pregnancy and birth.
Remember, reading the label for ingredient information is very important. For example, certain prenatal vitamins contain large amounts of vitamin B6. Although B6 is terrific at easing nausea and morning sickness, it may have the opposite effect on some women.
The Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before Getting Pregnant
Despite the relative side effects, prenatal vitamins are generally considered safe for all expectant mothers. Furthermore, the unique nutrient density of a good prenatal vitamin helps to ensure that all the necessary nutrients are already in place before a pregnancy takes place. Essentially, pre-pregnancy prenatal vitamin use contributes to a healthier body overall, which lends itself to a much more successful pregnancy.
In fact, the best prenatal vitamins contain several other essential nutrients that can make gestation a far less disruptive process. With the right supplement you might also get significant doses of vitamin C, vitamin A, pantothenic acid and even copper. All of those nutrients are important to proper fetal development, but they are also imperative to an expectant mother and/or to a woman trying to conceive or improve her fertility.
Furthermore, the major body systems of any growing embryo are developed by week 10 of gestation. However, most mothers aren’t aware of their pregnancy until around week six. Since nutrients such as folic acid, calcium, potassium and iron are essential to the proper growth of fetal brain, muscle and bone tissues, it’s extremely important to begin taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant. This way, any unexpected or unrealized pregnancy will be met with a healthy and readied womb.
5 Facts about Pregnancy Nutrition and Prenatal Vitamins
Although speaking to your obstetrician about proper prenatal and/or gestational nutrition is most important, there are a few facts that you can find out on your own. Below are just a few of them:
- Anemia, or iron deficiency, can cause serious health conditions for both the mother and her unborn child. Folic acid, which is one of the primary ingredients in most high-quality prenatal vitamins, is the same nutrient that’s present in certain fruits and vegetables. However, synthetic folic acid is absorbed by the body more quickly than its organic counterpart.
- For the average expectant mother, doctors recommend taking between 400 mcg and 1000 mcg of folic acid each day. In fact, studies show that a minimum folic acid intake of just 400 mcg daily before and during pregnancy can decrease the development of birth defects by as much as 70%.
- A mother’s body experiences massive changes during pregnancy, which is why thiamine is such an important component in prenatal vitamins, especially if those vitamins are taken before gestation. Thiamine helps make those drastic pregnancy changes less noticeable and disruptive, serving as a sort of preventative maintenance, if you will.
- Fortunately for the unborn child but not so fortunately for the expectant mother, nutrient supplies are typically used for fetal development before they’re used for sustaining the mother. This means that the mother’s body will likely suffer from the effects of a nutrient deficiency before it affects the baby. While that may seem unfair, it provides a window of opportunity to correct the problem before it gets worse.
- Certain preventable health problems can start before birth and be mitigated by routine use of prenatal vitamins with the right nutrient density. For example, prenatal atherosclerosis begins when mothers have high LDL cholesterol levels. High-quality prenatal vitamins also contain gross amounts of niacin and vitamin D – two nutrients that are known to lower bad cholesterol and support proper fetal development.
While taking prenatal vitamins is an important part of any healthy pregnancy, the nutrients contained within each dose are beneficial to a woman’s body even before she becomes pregnant and is especially helpful for those trying to conceive.
Dr. Henry’s is proud to provide a superior Prenatal Vitamin that is specially crafted with the best ingredients that the body can actually absorb.
If you loved this article about the Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before Getting Pregnant, then you would enjoy reading the Ultimate Guide to the Best Vitamins for Energy.