The majority of women understand the importance of prenatal vitamins. Prenatals are heavily encouraged for women who are trying to become pregnant as well as for those who are pregnant. In the mix of everything surrounding prenatal vitamins, there are a few important pieces of information that are left out. One key piece of information is the fact that prenatal vitamins are a supplement.
Ingredients in Prenatal Vitamins
Unfortunately, not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. A large number of women pick their prenatals based on what their friends or doctor have recommended to them. Do your research! I always recommend reading the ingredients that are present in the vitamins that you plan on purchasing. There are a number of well-known vitamins that are made from synthetic ingredients. A synthetic vitamin is made artificially in a lab to mimic what the naturally occurring vitamin does inside the body. When looking at the label of the prenatal vitamin you’re interested in, pay attention to words that end in “ide” or “ate” indicating that the product contains salt forms, which are synthetics. Synthetic ingredients aren’t as easily absorbed by the body and therefore you may not be getting the nutrients that your body needs in this time of extreme change.
Diet is important
When it comes down to it, prenatal multivitamins should be a supplement to your diet. A well balanced diet is critical for women- in every stage. Whether you’re pregnant, newly postpartum, or breastfeeding, your body is dependent on a large number of nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should serve as extra supplementation and nutritional support and not your major source of nutrients. Nutrients are absorbed and function far more optimally when consumed from their food source due to the abundance of other nutrients that surround it. When you absorb key nutrients from food, they contain minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, co-vitamins and more that work together to support digestion, absorption and carry through with their functions safely.
Nutrients to focus on
The only way to know exactly what your body needs is to have a blood panel taken by your doctor. Consider requesting a full blood count, iron studies (ie ferritin levels), vitamin D and B12, calcium, thyroid levels, and prolactin levels. A few nutrients to focus on include iron, iodine, folate, zinc, choline, omega 3 fatty acids particularly for DHA, Vitamin K, Vitamin D and magnesium. Foods like kale, garlic, liver, egg yolks, chia seeds, salmon, and blueberries have high nutritional values, so I encourage working those into your diet. You should be consuming a lot of greens in your diet to ensure your body is taking in enough fiber and natural folate. If you’re struggling with nausea, add ginger into your diet. There are a number of ways to consume ginger including in teas, supplements, candies, and dried ginger root. Everything you consume should be done in moderation!
While you should be taking prenatal vitamins to avoid vitamin deficiencies, you should always try your best to absorb the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs through your diet. Eat a well-balanced diet by consuming the rainbow! For help with your nutrition, reach out. I would love to talk to you about how you can increase your water intake and what recipes are best for your diet needs.