Prenatal vitamins are a crucial component of a healthy pregnancy, and, ideally, you should start taking these vitamins several months before you're ready to get pregnant. But how do you choose the right one?
Dr. Inga Zilberstein and her team, located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, offer fertility help before you're ready to get pregnant and excellent care during your pregnancy. Dr. Zilberstein has years of obstetrics experience and can help you choose the best prenatal vitamin for you and your baby.
What are prenatal vitamins?
Women should aim to get most of the vitamins and nutrients the body needs through diet. Eating whole foods is the best way to stay healthy and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
However, if you're planning to get pregnant or are currently pregnant, you may fall a little short in specific vitamins and minerals that are essential to you and your developing baby. Prenatal vitamins help you fill in the gaps where your diet falls short when pregnant.
These vitamins are specifically formulated to help your body develop a healthy fetus and placenta. Prenatal vitamins also contain the proper critical nutrients you need during pregnancy, and they’re formulated to help ensure you have enough of these vitamins without getting too much, which can be harmful.
You should take prenatal vitamins a few months before getting pregnant. Taking them early ensures your body has the proper amount of folic acid and iron, essential at every pregnancy stage.
Why prenatal vitamins are important
Vitamins and minerals are always essential to your health, but more so when growing a baby in your womb. You especially need more folic acid and iron than you do when you're not pregnant.
Folic acid is one of the essential vitamins for a healthy pregnancy. It helps prevent serious birth problems caused by neural tube defects. The neural tube is what develops into the baby's brain and spinal cord.
Without enough folic acid, your baby is at risk for neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. These are the two most common neural tube defects that often form before you even know you're pregnant.
Iron is vital for making blood, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby through the placenta and umbilical cord. A prenatal vitamin that includes iron is vital in preventing anemia, a severe condition when pregnant. Anemia causes low numbers of red blood cells, so less oxygen and nutrients reach the baby.
Tips for choosing the best prenatal vitamin
When you're ready to start trying for a baby, take the time to talk to Dr. Zilberstein about your prenatal vitamin options. It can be overwhelming with so many to choose from in your local drugstore. Dr. Zilberstein helps you make the right choice based on your health and specific needs.
Folic acid is the first thing you should look for in a prenatal vitamin. Most women need 400 micrograms of folic acid daily in a prenatal vitamin. However, if you're at an increased risk for neural tube defects, Dr. Zilberstein may recommend a vitamin with more.
When choosing a prenatal vitamin, you should also look for other essential nutrients and vitamins you and your baby need, which include:
- Calcium: 1000 mg/day
- Vitamin D: 600 IU/day
- Vitamin B6: 1.9 mg/day
- Iron: 27 mg/day
DHA isn't present in all prenatal vitamins, which is OK. If you choose one without DHA, you may want to add a fish oil supplement that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids.
You can choose a capsule or a gummy supplement when picking out a prenatal vitamin. A gummy vitamin may be the best option if you struggle with swallowing pills.
To get expert obstetrics care during your pregnancy, don't hesitate to call us, text us, or request an appointment online today using our convenient booking tool. Dr. Zilberstein is happy to answer your questions.