Pregnancy is a big deal. Carrying life inside of you is no joke and not an easy one for that matter. As such, as a lady, you are willing to do everything in your power to prepare your body to carry the foetus to term. Many women get into eating healthy diets, after all, they are eating for two now. But here is the thing; it is great that you are looking to lead a healthy lifestyle to see to it that your baby is healthy too. But regardless of how perfect your diet might be, full of dairy products, meat, vegetables, legumes and grains, it is impossible to get all the nutrients that you and your developing fetus will require. For this reason, most women are turning to prenatal vitamins.
Now if you are reading this, you surely know of their existence but have some questions of your own that you need to be answered. For instance, are they healthy and when should you start to take them?
Are they safe and healthy?
To answer this question, you will need to understand what constitutes a prenatal vitamin. You probably are thinking that it is a concoction of chemicals like many other drugs that are made available. But this could not be further from the truth. Pregnancy is a very delicate time. Anything chemical ingested has the potential to harm the fetus. As such, the legal bodies could not possibly have passed them if they were made from a host of chemicals.
So what are they? Well, simply put, they are vitamins. Just like the kind your body would absorb from fruits or vegetables. The difference is that the prenatal vitamins are concentrated. They pack a punch in vitamins. They are used to bridge the nutritional gap. They however only act as supplements to healthy diets and in no way as replacements.
Prenatal vitamins are different from multivitamins in that they contain vitamins that are necessary for the growth of the fetus and not just any vitamin. These vitamins include iron, copper, zinc, Vitamin A, E & C, Calcium and folic acid.
When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
Before you even get pregnant
Now that you understand what they are for, and what they contain, you should also understand that the best time to start taking them is before you even get pregnant. If you are planning on getting pregnant, you should start on prenatal vitamins. Why? Well, so that you can ensure you are your healthiest when you do get pregnant and so that you can pass on the health to your baby.
Taking prenatal vitamins is one of the best, actually recommended methods of reducing your chances of developing complications during pregnancy or worse still giving birth to a child with a deformity. Think about it while recalling our high school biology, what would happen if you did not get enough calcium while you are pregnant? Probably nothing might happen to you, and you might even carry your baby to term, but your baby will be born with bone complications. He/she might have rickets or porous bones. Prenatal vitamin (calcium type) can solve that issue and keep the defects at bay.
If you are not sure which prenatal vitamin you should be on, you should get a preconception check up with your doctor who will advise you accordingly. According to the results of your test, you will be told to start on a certain vitamin. Once you have the prescription you can get the vitamins over the counter at your local chemist. Though you still can get them without a prescription, it is important that you have one so that you know exactly which one you need.
If you already are pregnant, start immediately
Now before you get all discouraged and feel like an irresponsible mom to be, you are not alone. Many women too get pregnant while they are not on prenatal vitamins. Pregnancies are at times not planned for since contraceptives could very well fail. But regardless of the situation that is surrounding your lack of being on prenatal vitamins, the fact remains that you should start with them the soonest that you can.
If your next doctor’s appointment is several weeks to come, you could very well get yourself some over the counter instead of panicking over the whole situation. There is still room to salvage the situation (less than nine months to be precise) depending on when you discovered your pregnancy.
If you have not consulted the doctor, you might think it a very good idea for you to start on the multivitamins which contain all of the minerals and vitamins that a mom to be needs. The problem, however, is that the minerals and vitamin are in very low concentrations as they are not designed for pregnant persons. They may work for a while before you are pregnant, but not after you are.
After your pregnancy, and as you continue to breastfeed, you should continue gobbling down those prenatal vitamins. Your baby, being very vulnerable to this world will need the vitamins and minerals to fight off common diseases and infections.
But while you are taking these vitamins, you should be very careful to follow the prescription not to take in excess. As it is said, anything taken in excess, even water is harmful. In this case, you should ensure that you do not overdose on the folic acid or the iron as you will develop adverse side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, and constipation. If you start to experience any side effects, be sure to consult your doctor.
When all is said and done, you should realize that you are ultimately the one responsible for your pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby. As such, even as you pursue to start on prenatal vitamins, you should throw in some exercises to the mix, prenatal care as well as dieting. Light exercises will have to do. If you haven’t already talked to your doctor, you should the soonest that you can.