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Prenatal vitamins: 5 facts, including what’s in them

Prenatal vitamins

Women who are pregnant or attempting to become so often try to modify their diet accordingly. One of the things they tend to look into the most is prenatal vitamins. The prenatal vitamin market is growing larger and faster every year. Many doctors recommend that women take various supplements from well-known companies. Below is a list of prenatal vitamin facts for consumers, especially women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.

1. Expectant moms take them to get enough vitamins and minerals

Expectant moms usually look into getting prenatal vitamins because they feel like they need to eat the most balanced diet possible if they have a little one on the way. They would also be wise to do things like eliminating alcohol and stopping smoking or vaping if that was one of their habits.

The multivitamins on the market that companies design, particularly for prenatal benefits, often can reduce pregnancy complications and risks. For instance, if a woman uses a prenatal vitamin recommended by her doctor, it’s less likely that the baby will have to deal with anemia or neural tube defects.

2. Don’t take prenatal vitamins if you’re not planning pregnancy

Some women might feel the temptation to try prenatal vitamins in some instances, even if they are not trying to get pregnant. The most common reason is if they hear that consuming these vitamins can promote stronger nails and thicker hair growth.

The reality is that these claims are unproven. They often start as Facebook group chatter that makes it to the mainstream.

If you’re a woman who is not pregnant and does not plan to become pregnant, avoid taking these vitamins. You might not have any harmful effects if you take them for a brief period, but taking them for a long time increases the risks of developing serious health complications.

Why? The reason is that manufacturers tailor these drugs specifically to support a woman who is supposed to be pregnant. A woman who isn’t pregnant typically doesn’t need the high nutrient levels they provide the body.

3. These multivitamins often have two key nutrients

You will often find prenatal vitamins with all kinds of additives, but most companies design them with two particular nutrients if they’re going to market them to pregnant women. The first is folic acid. That can help the baby’s spinal cord and brain to develop as they are supposed to do.

Folic acid also makes spina bifida and anencephaly much less likely. You don’t want your baby to develop either of those, so you need to either get plenty of folic acid through a multivitamin or other natural sources.

The second nutrient these pills or capsules generally have is calcium. Pregnant women want to consume plenty of calcium, more than they would typically ingest.

Calcium protects your bones during pregnancy, but it also helps the baby’s bones develop properly. You certainly want your child to have strong bones, so getting that extra calcium is a must.

4. You can start taking them when planning to get pregnant

Some women actively try to get pregnant with a partner or spouse, while it comes as a surprise to others. The ones who are planning the pregnancy can start taking the prenatal vitamins before they get pregnant.

Many doctors recommend this if you go see them and talk about your plans to start a family. Of course, always follow your doctor’s advice.

You can also wait until you are pregnant, though. If you discover that you are expecting, you can start consuming the multivitamins during the first trimester with no issues. If you don’t realize you are pregnant until the second trimester, your doctor will likely tell you to start taking them at that point.

5. Prenatal vitamins will not make you more fertile

Another untruth you might see on social media is that consuming prenatal vitamins will make you more fertile and increase your chances of having a child if you’re actively trying. But there is no evidence that is actually the case.

It will not hurt your chances of getting pregnant, but it will not help them either. You will more than likely have a happy and healthy pregnancy if you eat these vitamins, but you will have to turn to other methods if you’re trying to conceive and not having any luck. Seeing a fertility specialist is probably your best bet.

Now that you’re got the facts, you can decide whether prenatal vitamins should be your next purchase when you’re online or at the pharmacy.

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