Prenatal vitamins are not only important for the health of your growing baby but for your own body as well. It’s so easy to concentrate on the health of your unborn child and put yourself second. However, your health is just as important as the health of the tiny human you are carrying. There are some essential vitamins any pregnant woman should take during the course of the pregnancy and then beyond. Most of these vitamins are found in food and you’ll find that the most natural way to ingest these vitamins is through a healthy diet and eating only the best ingredients to give you the most nutrition. However, it is not always possible to get the recommended intake of each vitamin in your food alone, that’s where prenatal vitamin supplements come in.

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Folic Acid

Folic acid is a very important vitamin to take before you decide to get pregnant and in the early stages of your pregnancy, as it helps prevent any neural tube defects in the brain and spinal cord. Every woman should take 400 mcg (micrograms) of folic acid daily, especially if you have plans to become pregnant. If your pregnancy is unplanned it is recommended that you take folic acid supplements as soon as you know you are pregnant and then continue through to the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy

Iron

Having an iron deficiency when pregnant is very common. Iron specifically helps your blood carry oxygen, which in turn helps carry oxygen to your baby.  It is recommended to take around 27 mg (milligrams) of iron per day during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Iodine

Iodine is very important for pregnant women as an iodine deficiency is directly related to unhealthy Thyroid function.  Not enough Iodine can cause physical and mental disabilities in your unborn child. The recommended intake of Iodine in pregnant women is 220 mcg (micrograms) and 290 mcg for breastfeeding women.

Calcium

Calcium is important for anyone, but when you are pregnant, your baby is using a lot of your calcium intake for its own bone growth, so you need to take extra calcium to help protect your own bone density whilst you are pregnant. 1,300 mg of calcium per day is recommended for pregnant women.

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Other important vitamins for any mother to be are, Vitamin D, Vitamin c Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Zinc.

It’s a good idea to read the package of your prenatal vitamin and check that it includes all of the above vitamin supplements. If not, or there is not enough of the daily recommended dose, you may need to take another brand, or combine a few different supplements together.

Taking these supplements helps you fill the gap in any areas of your diet that may be lacking in vitamins that come from your food. You can buy prenatal vitamins over the counter, or sometimes if you need a higher dose, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a certain type of prenatal vitamin to take. It is recommended that your doctor do some non-evasive tests to see in which areas you are lacking in vitamins. If you are nauseous from your prenatal vitamins, talk to your doctor about options such as vitamins in liquid form or chewable tablets.