Why Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?
The journey to a healthy pregnancy starts even before you start planning for a baby! Prenatal vitamins provide nutrients imperative to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Given our culture’s struggle with some unhealthy dietary habits, it is common to lack adequate nutrients in your diet.
Taking vitamins ensures that these requirements are met, since they are specially formulated keeping pregnancy requirements in mind.
Why are prenatal vitamins recommended during pregnancy?
Prenatal vitamins are formulated with ingredients and nutrients that are essential to keep you and your baby healthy. Pregnancy is naturally an increased-demand state, which means you need more of certain nutrients to sustain your baby’s growth
Prenatal vitamins play a crucial part to help prevent diseases that may arise due to certain minerals and nutrients; such as anemia. They also help prevent problems that may arise in the postpartum period due to lack of nutrients such as hair loss, brittle nails, skin problems, etc.
In the initial 3 months, you may experience an increased amount of nausea and an unexplained aversion to certain foods. This means you might not be eating adequately. Prenatal vitamins help bridge the nutritional gap by ensuring you get your vitamins even if your diet lacks them.
What happens if you don’t take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy?
Since your body needs more of certain nutrients while pregnant, you are prone to develop a deficiency if said nutrients are not present in your diet.
One of the most common deficiencies includes iron deficiency, which may lead to decreased hemoglobin levels in your blood. This aggravates symptoms of fatigue during pregnancy and may increase your chances of premature birth if not addressed.
Another repercussion of skipping prenatal vitamins includes folic acid deficiency, which may lead to neural tube defects in the baby. The neural tube is what forms your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Folic acid helps form the neural tube, but a lack of it results in improper development leading to major birth defects eventually.
While some mothers may be able to fulfill their nutritional requirements with their diet, it is important to understand that prevention is better than cure, and it’s always better to cover what we can without taking any chances on your or your baby’s health.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins, and when should you stop?
Experts recommend that you start prenatal vitamins at least 3 months before when you start trying for a baby. This helps your body stock up on these vitamins and prepare an optimum environment for your future baby to grow in.
Usually, you can stop taking these vitamins after your baby is born. However, you can continue to take them for up to 3 months in the postpartum period. This may help cover any deficiency you might have developed during pregnancy and can encourage your body to recover more steadily.
If you have questions about what vitamins to take and when to take them, ask your healthcare provider at your next appointment!