October 24, 2021

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Prenatal Vitamins: When To Take Them and 12 Nutrients You Need

These days, trying for a baby is a lot more complicated than it seems. There are a lot more things to restrict yourself from eating alongside a long list of food you should eat to ensure your body is capable of carrying a baby to full-term.

Thankfully, you don’t have to stress over hard-to-find food to make sure you’re getting the recommended intake of baby making nutrients – prenatal vitamins exist to support just that.

But it’s not just about looking for a complete multivitamin to support your conception and pregnancy. Your everyday diet may already have some of your required vitamins and minerals in abundance. However, some multivitamin supplements still carry these in their capsules, and that can cause over-supplementation. When you’re trying for a baby, that’s something you should avoid to prevent any side effects and defects that may come with overdosage.

You need a prenatal multivitamin that keeps the fillers out while giving you only the nutrients you need, like the Essential Prenatal Multivitamin from Ritual. This next-generation supplement for pregnant women leaves out calcium and vitamin C as these are readily available in most foods. Too much of either can inhibit the absorption of other nutrients, which is why supplementing calcium and vitamin C can be counterproductive rather than helpful. For Best vitamins Click Here

A good rule of thumb for taking prenatal vitamins is to start taking them as early as three months before trying for a baby. The reason behind the three-month rule is due to the unpredictability of pregnancy.

Within the first month, the fetus’s brain development is in full swing. You may not even be aware at this time that you’re already pregnant, so taking prenatal vitamins early on helps in fetal growth even without knowing that the fetus is already there! For perspective, the fetus’s neural tube (which later becomes the brain and spinal cord) is one of the first things to form during this time, and several nutrients need to be present in the body to support its development.

When you’re taking prenatal vitamins early on, you’re preparing your body to carry another human being. So if there are any nutritional gaps in your diet, the prenatal vitamins supplement every mother-to-be’s body needs, as well as the baby’s.Which Nutrients To Look For In Prenatal Vitamins Pexels.com

We’ve listed down the essential nutrients you should look for in prenatal vitamins, which can also be found in Ritual’s Essential Prenatal Multivitamin.1. Folate

Folate helps develop neural tube formation and also prevents congenital disabilities in your growing baby. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 and takes its name from the Latin word folium, meaning leaf, which refers to its primary dietary source (leafy, green vegetables). Folic acid is vitamin B9’s synthetic form commonly found in supplements and processed foods.

Synthetic vitamin B9 takes a longer time to convert into its active form of levomefolic acid (5-MTHF) to become usable in the body, compared to folate, which easily converts into 5-MTHF once it’s in your digestive system. When reading through the nutrients included in a prenatal vitamin, make sure there’s folate listed instead of folic acid.2. Omega-3

Among the three omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is a crucial component in pregnancy. This supports the development of the baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system throughout the pregnancy. Taking DHA can also help prevent preterm labor and unhealthy birth weight, possibly influencing cognitive abilities, including attention span. A 2020 research study also found that DHA can improve the mother’s depressive mood swings during the postpartum period.3. Iodine

When taken in a prenatal vitamin, iodine is responsible for producing thyroid hormones for the mother and child and regulating brain and nervous system development. But don’t underestimate the amount of iodine you need during pregnancy; you’ll need almost double your regular iodine intake to support your baby’s growth! Lacking iodine in your pregnancy period is linked to increased perinatal and infant mortality and stunted intellectual development.Pexels.com 4. Choline

Choline has only become a recent addition in prenatal vitamins, as advised by the American Medical Association in 2017 and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018. Because of its recently discovered benefits during pregnancy, choline cannot be found in most prenatal vitamins available, which is why only less than 10% of pregnant women achieve its target intake.

Choline helps in fetal neural development and has been linked with influencing various metabolic and physiologic processes in the baby. When taken with omega-3 fatty acids, these work together to support the baby’s brain development throughout the pregnancy.5. Vitamin B12

When you’re pregnant, it’s best to combine folate with vitamin B12 as these can help prevent spinal and neural congenital disabilities in your baby, like spina bifida and anencephaly. Vitamin B12 or cobalamin also helps in your baby’s red blood cell production and DNA material formation. Milk, poultry, and fish are the most abundant sources of vitamin B12 available, which is why vegans and vegetarians usually lack this nutrient in their diets and opt to supplement it instead.6. Vitamin D3

There’s no better natural source of vitamin D than the sun – but office hours, working from home, and urban dwellings don’t always allow you to catch rays throughout the day, which is why this is widely available (and free!) nutrient is supplemented instead. In terms of pregnancy, vitamin D3 can help prevent preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight. It also helps in the ossification of fetal bones and cranial vertex during pregnancy.Pexels.com 7. Biotin

Biotin or vitamin B7 can be found in your regular diet, but you’ll need a lot more of it when you’re expecting. Biotin helps keep your energy levels and metabolism up as most of it is spent developing the fetus. In short, this is for the mother’s benefit. To keep yourself from feeling tired and exhausted all the time during pregnancy, make sure you take an adequate amount of energy-giving nutrients so your body can keep up with both its normal internal processes and baby development.8. Iron

Iron is already an essential nutrient your body needs to form hemoglobin, the protein required by red blood cells to transport oxygen to your organs and tissues. Since oxygen is an integral element in helping your baby grow, you’ll need to increase your intake. Once you don’t have enough iron to produce hemoglobin to deliver oxygen in the body, you can develop iron deficiency anemia, increasing your risk of preterm birth, postpartum depression, low birth weight, and even infant death in the perinatal or postpartum stages.9. Vitamin E

Aside from the many other potential infections and diseases you’re avoiding, oxidative stress is another concern to be aware of while pregnant. Oxidative stress happens when free radicals enter your body and damage your cells, proteins, and DNA, eventually leading to premature aging. Supplementing with vitamin E can help prevent oxidative stress in your body to keep it in tiptop shape while supporting a growing baby’s development.Pexels.com 10. Boron

Limited studies suggest that boron can help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and some cancer mutations in adults. In terms of pregnancy, studies suggest that boron can help influence bone formation. When taking other pregnancy essential nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium, boron helps enzymes metabolize their active states to promote bone health.11. Vitamin K2

Like boron, vitamin K2 is a helper nutrient that metabolizes calcium in the body to promote bone health. Vitamin K2 can also be an essential nutrient during pregnancy because this is also linked to heart health and can potentially prevent the risk of hemorrhaging and internal bleeding by promoting blood clotting or coagulation.12. Magnesium

Whether you’re pregnant or not, magnesium plays several crucial roles in your body. From aiding in chemical reactions to supporting immune, nerve, and muscle functions, magnesium is a non-negotiable in your daily recommended nutrient intake. While you’re pregnant, magnesium can help reduce fetal growth restriction, the risk of preeclampsia and premature birth, and other pregnancy complications while helping increase birth weight.

Are you thinking of trying for a baby? Make sure you have a complete prenatal vitamin like Ritual’s Essential Prenatal Multivitamins. Order your prenatal essential from Ritual here.

*While taking prenatal vitamins can be beneficial for most women, please consult your healthcare professional to make sure that it is suitable for you to undertake.

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