A New Mom’s Guide to Prenatal Supplements

Pregnancy may seem like a great excuse to become a regular at your local bakery or ice cream shop, but even if you’re aching for sweets daily, that doesn’t mean you should give in to your cravings on a regular basis. In fact, a healthy diet is a must for your baby’s development. But while eating a wide array of fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein can give you most of the nutrients you and your developing baby need, it’s still possible to fall short on a few key factors. This is where vitamins come in. Read on for all you need to know about taking prenatal supplements when you’re having a baby.

Reach for the right jar. Moms-to-be have an array of multivitamins to choose from, but it’s important to reach for prenatal vitamins. These are specifically formulated with more folic acid and iron, two key nutrients for your baby’s development. Folic acid helps prevent brain and spinal cord abnormalities, while iron helps ward off the chance of anemia during pregnancy. Prenatal supplements also help you meet your daily requirement of other vitamins, such as calcium, which boosts your baby’s bone strength, and vitamin D, which lowers the risk of dangerous birthing complications.

Choose carefully. Ask your doctor if they have a preferred brand of prenatal supplements. If not, look for a jar that meets the following requirements: 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid, 250 milligrams of calcium, 30 milligrams of iron, 50 milligrams of vitamin C, 15 milligrams of zinc, 2 milligrams of both copper and vitamin B-6, and 400 international units of vitamin D.

Know the proper dosage. Be sure to carefully read the dosage instructions before taking your prenatal, and ask your doctor if you’ll need any additional supplements. Some new moms may need an extra dosage of certain vitamins, such as omega-3 fatty acids. And if your prenatal vitamins are making you feel nauseous, bring that up too, as your doctor may prescribe another type of supplement. 

Prenatal vitamins help give your body the best shot at a healthy pregnancy, but remember that they are not an excuse to eat a poor diet. Loading up on wholesome, nutritious foods in addition to taking a regular supplement will put you in great shape for having a healthy baby.