Doctors suggest that you take vitamins on a daily basis when not pregnant and for men and women. Why? We don’t always get the nutrients that we need through our food. In fact, if you are busy and don’t have time to cook, you may be getting even less of those important nutrients each day.
Vitamins provide necessary minerals and other compounds that the body needs for cellular function and to keep you healthy. There are some compounds that are hard to get in quantity in food, so vitamins ensure that you get the daily recommended allowance.
When the body goes through the changes of pregnancy, you now have two lives you are nourishing. What the baby needs to survive and grow will be taken from the food that the mother eats. Also, her nutrition is coming from there too. If nutrition is lacking, the baby will take it from the mother’s stores. When it can’t be found, it can lead to developmental issues in the unborn child.
Prenatal vitamins contain increased levels of certain vitamins and minerals that the body needs most during pregnancy. This includes folic acid, vitamin B and iron. Iron keeps the bones strong and that is important at all stages of a woman’s life.
Why is folic acid important? It helps with neural development, meaning the brain and spinal cord. It is suggested that women begin taking prenatal vitamins before they even conceive. If they are planning to start trying, increased folic acid levels in the body can head off some birth defects in future children.
Lack of proper folic acid amounts have been linked to incidence of spina bifida in babies. It is important for survival of the fetus that the brain and spinal cord fully develop.
Prenatal vitamins are a supplement to nutrition and an important one. Just because you are taking them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch your nutritional intake. To enhance the value of the vitamins, eat a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. This not only helps you keep baby weight under control, it also helps you to deal better with the changes in your body that pregnancy will bring.
Talk to your doctor about the right type of prenatal vitamin with the compounds that you need. Also know that taking them is not a definite guarantee that baby will not have issues, but it is a safeguard. There is still genetics and other environmental factors to take into account, but you can only do something about the factors that you can control.