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What Pregnancy Vitamins Should I Take?

 

Congratulations mama, you have either just seen that positive line on your pregnancy test, or you are preparing to get pregnant. Either way you are reading this because you are wanting to prepare your body as best you can to grow your little miracle and are looking into what pregnancy vitamins you should take. So well done you for doing your research.

 

Growing a baby is hard work for our bodies, and it is important that we get everything we need to stay healthy ourselves, and enable our baby to develop and grow. This is where pregnancy vitamins come in.  Medical advice is to take specific pregnancy vitamins, rather than general multivitamins, alongside eating a balanced diet when pregnant, and not in place of food. That can be easier said than done, especially in the early days if you are struggling with nausea, when even the smell of a pregnancy vitamin can be enough to turn your stomach. But taking them as regularly as possible, even if it is not daily, will help. I personally found the chewy, gummy pregnancy vitamins the easiest to stomach, but there are lots to choose from so try different ones out.


A pill box containing pregnancy vitamins

In this post, I’m talking about some of the key nutrients to look for in your pregnancy vitamins, along with some supporting studies.

 

Folic acid: Folic acid prevents neural tube birth defects, that affect the brain and spinal cord. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking 400 micrograms daily before and during pregnancy.

 

A large study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that women who took folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy were 70% less likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.

 

Iron: Iron carries oxygen round your body. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases significantly, so your need for iron also increases. The ACOG recommends that pregnant women get 27 milligrams of iron per day.

 

A study in the journal PLOS One found that pregnant women who took iron supplements / pregnancy vitamins with iron were less likely to have low iron levels, which is good for general health, energy levels and baby’s growth. Pregnancy vitamins usually provide a good amount of iron.

 

Calcium: Calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Pregnant women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

 

A study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found pregnant women who took calcium supplements were less likely to have preeclampsia. Check for calcium in your pregnancy vitamin as not all contain it. 


A pregnant woman with a bottle of vitamins at the foreground

 

DHA: DHA is important for brain development. Pregnant women need 200 milligrams of DHA per day.

 

A study published Pediatrics found that children whose mothers took DHA supplements during pregnancy had better cognitive function and motor skills than those whose didn’t.

 

Additionally, some other nutrients that may be beneficial when pregnant are vitamin C, D, and choline.

 

A study published in the journal Nutrition found that pregnant women who took vitamin C supplements had a lower risk of developing preeclampsia. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pregnant women who took vitamin D supplements had a lower risk of having babies with low birth weight. The journal PLOS One found that pregnant women who took choline supplements had babies with better cognitive function.

 

When choosing a pregnancy vitamin, it's important to read the label carefully and make sure it contains the essential vitamins and minerals you need. You can also talk to your midwife about which pregnancy vitamin is right for you.  No matter which pregnancy vitamin you choose, be sure to take it as directed. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby during pregnancy. If the chunky tablets are too difficult to stomach, there are some nice gummy ones you can get. :D

 

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