10 Vitamins Helpful To Pregnant Mothers
Adequate nutrition is important for all people, but especially important for pregnant people. Your body is creating a human from scratch, after all! This means it needs more of certain nutrients than it might otherwise. Your child is dependent on the nutrients you put into your body for their fetal growth and development. But sometimes, getting enough of what you and your baby need isn’t possible through diet alone.
In these cases, there are prenatal vitamins that act as specialized multivitamins for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are not the same as any old multivitamin; they have specific amounts of nutrients specially designed for pregnancy. For example, a regular vitamin may not contain any iron, whereas a prenatal vitamin does. Knowing what vitamins you need for pregnancy and which prenatal vitamins are best to take will help keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.
What are the most important vitamins for pregnancy?
No two vitamins are created equal, and although every person’s body needs a list of vital nutrients to run at its best, pregnant bodies and the infants growing inside of them need more of certain things. Below are 10 specific nutrients that pregnant people need to ensure they are healthy while their baby grows.
Folate belongs to the B vitamin family. The body uses it to make red and white blood cells, utilize carbohydrates as energy, produce DNA and RNA, and make bone marrow. During pregnancy, women need more folate because it can help to fuel growth of the baby as well as prevent defects in neural tubes in their unborn child.
Iron is an essential mineral that helps the body create hemoglobin, a specific type of protein found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is tasked with carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is also used to help create certain hormones. When a person is pregnant, they need more iron to help increase their maternal red blood cell mass, which in turn helps with the growth of both the fetus and the placenta. Brain development of the fetus is also helped by having adequate iron levels.
Calcium is another essential mineral that is used by the body to build strong bones, keep the bones healthy during aging, help blood to clot and muscles to contract, and keep a regular heartbeat. Certain amounts of calcium are lost every day through the skin, nails, urine, sweat, and feces. Since the body cannot synthesize or produce calcium, it needs to be consumed in food or supplementation. Calcium needs go up during pregnancy because the fetus needs it for strengthening and development of bones, teeth, muscle, heart, and nerves.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is important for many aspects of health. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and supports immune function. During pregnancy, getting enough vitamin D is vital to help reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, low birthweight, and preterm birth.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to many of the body’s processes. It helps repair tissue and encourages the production of certain neurotransmitters. Vitamin C has also been closely linked to immune health. Adequate levels of vitamin C also help to make collagen within the body. For pregnant people, vitamin C aids in collagen production in the fetus as well as the development of the immune system. Vitamin C has also been shown to help reduce risks of complications during pregnancy.
6. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a macronutrient that is designed to help with the functioning of the body and all of its organs. It also aids in reproduction, vision health, and immune health. During pregnancy, vitamin A is important for the growth of the baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and bones. It also plays a role in the growth and development of the circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems.
Zinc is an element that the body needs for DNA synthesis, immune function, and growth. During pregnancy, zinc helps with rapid cell growth of the fetus.
Copper is an essential mineral that’s crucial for making red blood cells, as well as maintaining the health of the immune system and of nerve cells. It can also aid the body in the absorption of iron, production of collagen, and energy production. Since the blood supply doubles during pregnancy, more copper is needed to help form the baby’s heart, blood vessels, and nervous and skeletal systems.
9. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is needed for the health of both the blood and nerve cells. It helps to create DNA and aids in the prevention of blood conditions. The vitamin also plays a role in converting certain nutrients such as fat and protein into energy. Pregnant people need more vitamin B12 because it helps to prevent spinal and nervous system birth defects as well as aiding in the overall growth of the baby.
Magnesium is important for a variety of reasons. It helps to regulate the function of muscles and nerves, manage blood sugar and blood pressure, and aid in protein, bone, and DNA production. By taking magnesium during pregnancy, you can avoid complications.
What is the best prenatal vitamin to take?
While there are many prenatal vitamins available on the market today, the best one will contain all the vitamins you need during your pregnancy. When choosing a prenatal vitamin, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your needs and nutrition so that you can get the one that’s going to benefit you and your unborn child the most.
Nutrition is vital when you’re pregnant, and sometimes you can’t get everything you need from the foods you eat. That is why supplementation can be a crucial tool for a healthy pregnancy and baby.