Pregnancy vitamins are an essential part of good prenatal care. In order to prevent serious mineral deficiencies in both you and your developing baby, you should take a natural prenatal multivitamin.
Cooking, storage and processing of foods can cause the loss of many essential vitamins that if deficient may cause birth defects or delayed development in the baby and pregnancy problems in mom-to-be.
Vitamins assist your body during pregnancy in performing many important functions that are not only important for you but especially for your baby's healthy growth.
Pregnancy vitamins help support you and your baby during pregnancy, but are not substitute for eating junk food and not following a healthy diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables.
The following is a list of the major pregnancy vitamins and minerals a pregnant woman needs in order to maintain her health during pregnancy at a optimum level.
Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that prevents oxidative damage to the developing fetus. A vitamin A deficiency has been linked to infertility and miscarriage, but high doses of it can cause birth defects. Taking beta-carotene instead of vitamin A prevents vitamin A toxicity because beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A when needed by the body. The required amount is no more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A or 6 mg of beta-carotene.
Among all the pregnancy vitamins, Vitamin A is the only one that can build up in your body and cause toxicity, make sure to avoid drugs that contain synthetic forms of Vitamin A like acutane.
Calcium is an essential mineral during pregnancy. It is also needed for development of fetal bones and teeth. The recommended dose is 1200 mg a day before and during pregnancy. Calcium should never be taken alone, it needs magnesium in at least half the amount of calcium. Every woman who is taking 1200mg of calcium a day will need at least 600mg of magnesium.
Vitamins E is another important antioxidant necessary for healthy cell division during embryo development. Alfa-d-tocopherol is the technical name of natural vitamin E. It is required for essential fatty acid (EFA ) metabolism, which is linked to hormone production during pregnancy. A deficiency of vitamin E can lead to miscarriage.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common among those who wear sun screen and who lead indoor sedentary lives. A little of sunshine taken in the morning without protection can increase natural vitamin D production in the body which leads to increased calcium absorption and healthy calcium metabolism.
Vitamin D is per se not a vitamin but a very important hormone that the body needs to perform many important metabolic functions. It is produced by the skin and sunshine is needed for its production. Deficiency symptoms are low immunity, poor calcium assimilation, cavities, poor bone development in the fetus.
B vitamins are very important for a healthy pregnancy and nobody should go without. They are: Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, PABA, folic acid, inositol, and choline. They work together.
There is a greatly increased need for B vitamins during times of stress and especially during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman becomes deficient in vitamin B , she is at risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and neo-natal death.
The most important B vitamin to be taken, especially during early pregnancy, is folate or folic acid. This vitamin is well known because it prevents neaural tube defects in babies.
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant which protects against toxins in food like nitrosamine, lead and pesticides. It is very important during pregnancy because it has the power to reduces the incidence of genetic abnormalities due to DNA mutations.
Vitamin C is essential for the developing fetus as it helps develop healthy bone and skin. Vitamin C deficiency during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, spontaneous rupture of the membranes, and brain tumours in babies.
Avoid high dosage of Vitamin C (over 2,000 mg) before birth as it can cause scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) symptoms in the baby at birth. Low dosage of 500 mg a day is safe and can also be very helpful in cases of blood type incompatibility between mother and baby.
Magnesium is needed for zinc and calcium absorption. Many women are deficient of magnesium and need additional supplementation during pregnancy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to miscarriage or low birth weight. Deficiency can also cause cravings for sugar, especially for chocolate. Magnesium taken during pregnancy can prevent premature uterine contractions and leg cramps during third trimester.
Iron is needed for production of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying molecule in the blood. Pregnant women need additional iron during pregnancy because their blood flow increases as they need to nourish their baby. Iron is needed for correct formation of fetal blood, brain, eye and bone, and for a healthy growth rate. Low iron storage levels during pregnancy may cause complications during delivery.
Zinc is the most important nutrient for pregnant women. This mineral is needed for healthy immune system and brain development. A deficiency during pregnancy can lead to fetal growth retardation, miscarriages and prolonged labour. Zinc deficiency is linked to miscarriage, premature birth and post-natal depression.
Manganese deficiency can also cause miscarriage, and nervous system and heart defects in babies. Manganese is often missing from the modern diet its uptake from the soil is blocked by organophosphate pesticides. Eating organic fruids and vegetable is best during pregnancy to ensure adequate amounts of manganese.
Chromium is involved in the metabolism of glucose, which affects the growth of the foetus. It also helps control nausea during pregnancy and high sugar levels (gestational diabetes) during pregnancy.
Selenium is an anti-oxidant and helps remove toxins from the body. Selenium deficiency has been linked to SIDS, Down Syndrome and asthma, and increased risk of cystic fibrosis.
Iodine is needed for thyroid function and a deficiency during pregnancy can impair fetal brain development.
Pregnancy vitamins should contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are necessary for fetal brain and nervous system development. Deficiencies can lead to chromosomal defects, brain disorders such as dyslexia. Women who are overdue needs to supplement with EFA.
To ensure you and your baby have all the nutrients make sure to always follow healthy diet rich in wholesome foods and free of chemical additives and pesticides.
To increase you mineral and vitamin intake and prevent serious deficiencies, do not forget to take additional pregnancy vitamins.
I would recommend Pregancy Plus pregnancy vitamins for every Mom-to-be who wants to have a healthy pregnancy.
The reason why I like these prenatal vitamins is because they are designed by a obgyn, Dr. Amos Grunebaum, who is a leading expert in natural fertility and pregnancy.
You can take them once daily and they contain key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including folic acid. Optimized for preconception and pregnancy, contains no artificial ingredients.