As physicians many people ask us what vitamins they should take if they are considering getting pregnant? Prenatal vitamins or vitamins you should take both before during pregnancy are such an important topic. It turns out that there are some essential nutrients that all women contemplating pregnancy should take, while others depend on a woman’s diet, lifestyle and health concerns. No one wants to take things that they do not need or ingest potentially unhealthy additives, especially when they are pregnant. Figuring out which vitamins to take in pregnancy should therefore take a personalized approach.
It turns out that our bodies require more of certain nutrients when we are trying to create and grow another human being! This should in no way be surprising but is often overlooked. It is very hard for women to ensure they are getting enough of these nutrients via diet (even the healthiest of eaters), thus taking a prenatal vitamin is an important part of any pregnancy. Taking the right vitamins can in fact help to conceive a pregnancy and to sustain it to avoid loss of pregnancy. In addition these nutrients are both important to the baby’s development and to the mother’s body during pregnancy and in the post partum period.
Making a baby requires additional nutrients not just to help the baby’s body and mind develop, but also to help the mother’s body since her body is under inordinate stress during this time. In addition many nutrients (such as iron and calcium) are sent preferentially to the baby so the mother can easily become deficient in these important minerals during this time. To avoid either the mother or the baby becoming deficient in key nutrients a personalized approach to vitamins can be a great way to get what both people need during this important time.
So which vitamins are important in preconception and the prenatal period? There is some variation from person to person, and certainly dosing varies based on individual needs, however here are some essentials:
-Folic Acid is touted as one of the most important nutrients during pregnancy. It is in fact quite needed since a deficiency in this B vitamin has a clear association with certain neurologic defects in the unborn baby (think spina bifida).
–Iron is also often discussed as an essential prenatal nutrient. This is because iron is essential to our red blood cells carrying oxygen to our bodies. For the baby this is key to its development and growth and for the mother, this is also essential for every bodily function. Many women are iron deficient to start during their fertile years and pregnancy very much adds to this issue by giving the baby all of your iron. The problem is compounded by blood loss during labor and delivery and then in months following pregnancy if breast feeding and with post pregnancy bleeding. Getting the right amount of iron and the vitamin C that is important for its absorption is essential.
–Vitamin D is an important hormone for many bodily functions. It is not surprising that it plays a key role in fertility, fetal development and maternal well being. We know that vitamin D is important to bone and muscle strength, brain function, immune health and mood.
–Iodine is a vital element in that it fuels our thyroid and metabolism. If a pregnant woman is iodine deficient in can have devastating effects on the baby’s health leading to brain damage and more. For this reason getting a sufficient yet safe amount of iodine in a personalized prenatal regimen is very important.
–Omega3s- These essential fatty acids are a vital part of brain development. The DHA and EPA are now considered an important part of any prenatal regimen. Data also suggests they help to maintain a healthy pregnancy and prevent preterm labor.
– Magnesium is a key element that plays an important role in regulating many essential bodily functions. It is used in pregnancy to help with many symptoms such as migraines, constipation and more but it is also shown to be helpful in reducing preterm later, preeclampsia and helping with fetal growth. Taking safe and appropriate doses is important.
Prenatal health, pregnancy and for that matter, postpartum vitamin needs are great. This is a crucial time in the health of a mother (and her child). Getting the right vitamins in safe and proper doses is an important part of a healthy family. As with other vitamin needs, no two women are exactly the same in their diet, lifestyle and health. Why would every woman need the same vitamins? A personalized approach to vitamins is the superior way to determine your individual needs and avoid too little or too much of any nutrient. Take our vitamin quiz to get exactly what you need on your journey to a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.