During pregnancy, you should do your best to eat a well-balanced diet that consists of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats. A prenatal vitamin helps cover any nutritional gaps in your diet. Before you get pregnant, it is a good idea to start taking a prenatal vitamin every day to help you and your baby be as healthy as possible. You should continue taking the prenatal vitamin throughout your pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
Three main vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins that are essential for you and your developing baby are folic acid, iron, and calcium.
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida which affects the brain and spinal cord. Foods containing folic acid are dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. It is best to take this before and during pregnancy.
Iron helps the blood carry oxygen to the mother and baby and helps prevent anemia. Iron helps muscles develop in the mother and child which lowers the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Foods containing iron are beef, pork, spinach, dried fruits, and oatmeal.
Calcium prevents the mother from losing bone density while the baby uses calcium for bone growth. It helps the nervous, muscular, and circulating systems stay healthy. Foods containing calcium are yogurt, cheese, milk, breads, cereals, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Other components of prenatal vitamins such as minerals and DHA help your baby to have a healthy start in life.
Please see your midwife so she can prescribe and recommend the proper dosage of prenatal vitamins for you.