You have received the news, you are expecting a baby! Pregnancy is an exciting time, however it is also when you begin the lifetime of worry and concern that accompanies motherhood. The first concern that you may have as a pregnant women is, “Is my baby getting enough nourishment in the womb?” This is a common concern because a developing fetus requires excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals in order to develop properly. That is why, pregnant women are generally recommended to take prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins are basically a multivitamin that has been formulated specifically for expecting women. Because the body of a pregnant woman has different demands than other women, you will require a vitamin that is much higher in certain ingredients. However, it is important to remember that by taking a prenatal vitamin you do not have to watch what you eat, or you can indulge all of your cravings. That is not true at all! A prenatal vitamin does not excuse an inadequate or unhealthy diet; it is merely an insurance policy that your developing baby will have the necessary vitamins and minerals to develop properly.
You may think that you do not require a prenatal vitamin if you eat a healthy, well rounded diet. You may have a lesser need than other pregnant women certainly; however there are certain vitamins that you will definitely need more of. It is imperative that you get enough folic acid, which most women have trouble consuming by diet alone. Folic acid is imperative for reducing the risk of neural tube defects. It is also very important that you are getting enough iron, another mineral that many women have trouble consuming by diet alone. Your body must increase blood production during pregnancy which may mean that your iron stores can get dangerously low.
Remember that not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. Be sure to check with you doctor or midwife for their recommendations. It is also important to note that you still must eat a healthy and well balanced diet in order to ensure the healthiest start for your new baby. You will also need to either supplement with an extra calcium supplement or be sure to consume enough calcium in your diet, as most prenatal vitamins do not contain the daily requirement.
Although it is recommended that all pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin, there are certain women for which prenatal vitamins are necessary. These include women who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, are lactose intolerant, are smokers or abuse other substances, are pregnant with twins or have another condition identified by a doctor.
Because of the excellent nutrition that prenatal vitamins provide, many women choose to begin taking them before they conceive in order to ensure that a fetus has all of the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to grow properly. And many women continue to take prenatal vitamins after the birth of the baby and while they are nursing because of the heavy nutritional demands on a nursing mother.