What To Look For In Your Prenatal Vitamin
If you’re a mom-to-be or prepping your body for pregnancy, there is a lot of information out there about what you need, best practices, and doctors’ recommendations. You should always talk to your doctor about what’s best for your individual circumstances and what works best for your body. Even if you’re a model of near-perfect health, prenatal vitamins can give your body essential nutrients to help your baby grow and develop healthily.
With so many prenatal options out there, let’s break down what you should look for in a prenatal vitamin and why they are important in the first place.
Why Prenatal Vitamins Are Important Before And During Pregnancy
Growing a baby in your body is no simple task! Your body needs a lot of vitamins and minerals to support healthy fetal growth and development. Some doctors and health care providers suggest starting to take prenatal vitamins a month before conception, since the first few weeks of pregnancy are so crucial.
Think of your prenatal vitamin like an insurance policy: while it can never take the place of a healthy diet or lifestyle, it ensures that your baby isn’t lacking essentials. The most important reason for investing in a nutrient-packed prenatal vitamin is that they reduce the risk of birth defects. Folic Acid is the ingredient you should always be looking out for on your prenatal vitamin bottle because it has been shown to reduce the risks of heart and neural tube defects.
Think of your prenatal vitamin like an insurance policy: while it can never take the place of a healthy diet or lifestyle, it ensures that your baby isn’t lacking essentials.
The baby’s neural tube forms in the first month of pregnancy, which is why many women begin taking prenatal formulas while they’re trying to get pregnant so that when conception occurs there’s already a solid foundation for healthy development.
Key Ingredients To Look For
Folic Acid (Folate)
We just mentioned this above but it can’t be understated: folic acid is an absolute must when you’re researching prenatal vitamins because it helps to prevent abnormalities of the fetal brain and spinal cord.
The other most commonly recognized and important prenatal vitamin ingredient is iron. Iron encourages red blood cell production and is a building block for the baby’s cells. Many women become anemic during pregnancy and iron helps to prevent that condition.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Many adults are already Vitamin D deficient, so it’s important for pregnant women to look for it in their prenatal formulas because Vitamin D, when combined with Calcium, helps to form the baby’s bones and teeth.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA)
DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid found in many types of fish and has been found to aid in fetal brain and eye development. Many prenatal vitamins don’t contain DHA — Anser’s formula does, which is why it is our only non-vegan product! — so talk to your doctor if you’re using a prenatal without DHA about whether you need to supplement it elsewhere.
B Vitamins, especially B6, B9, and B12, can benefit you and your baby during pregnancy. B Vitamins encourage natural energy boosts, which can offset some of the exhaustion you likely feel (or will feel) in the pregnancy. B6 is also helpful in alleviating nausea and vomiting, two of the most common side effects of pregnancy. B Vitamins also encourage development of your baby’s nervous system.
What Else To Consider
Pregnant women share a few common concerns about prenatal vitamins, most notably that they can cause nausea as well as constipation or stomach issues. When we created our Anser prenatal formula, we specifically included ginger root and peppermint extract for digestive relief and to help ease morning sickness or other pregnancy-related nausea.