During pregnancy, you and your baby are living in complete harmony, and your baby is totally dependent on you to receive all nutrients, vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy growth and development. If you’re planning to add a new member to your family or if you’re already expecting their arrival, here are some of the vitamins and supplements to add to your diet and boost your and your baby’s health:
No matter if you’re trying for a baby, could get pregnant or if you’re already pregnant, taking folic acid supplements is crucial for your baby’s health. Folic acid supplements should be taken every day until your 12th week of pregnancy. As mentioned above, folic acid should be taken even before pregnancy, so start as soon as you start trying to conceive. This acid is great at preventing neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord (such as spina bifida).
Vitamin D for fertility and bones
Vitamin D is very important for healthy bones and proper immune system functions, so it’s a crucial vitamin for pregnancy. According to research, it might even improve fertility, so it’s something to consider when trying to get pregnant. Women with normal to high levels of vitamin D are more likely to have a successful pregnancy through IVF than those who lack this vitamin in their bodies (this only showed promising results for Caucasian women, not other races, but it’s something to look into further). However, vitamin D does help the baby grow healthy bones and teeth. During pregnancy, consider taking vitamin D supplements of 600 IU or boost the intake of fatty fish, milk and fortified cereals.
This mineral is also crucial for the baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, nerves and cardiovascular health. In pregnancy, taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium can ensure the mother’s body is functioning properly as well. If you don’t ingest enough calcium for the baby, your body will create it from your own bones, which can cause health issues in the future like osteoporosis which makes your bones brittle and weak. Luckily, there are excellent vitamins and supplements with calcium that will support the development and maintenance of bones. Take a capsule once a day or boost the intake of dairy products, greens and fortified orange juice.
Iron for healthy blood
Iron is an essential mineral necessary for the human body for the creation of hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. During pregnancy, women need a higher amount of iron because the body uses it to make new blood that will supply the baby with oxygen. Also, your baby needs iron to make its own blood supply. Women with low levels of iron are at risk of developing infections, anemia (too little iron), fatigue, and even some serious birthing issues like premature birth (baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and low birth weight (baby born underweight).
However, regular intake of iron supplements can ensure a healthier pregnancy for both baby and mother. Taking 27 milligrams of iron daily will ensure the levels of this mineral are just right. Iron can be taken separately, but most prenatal supplements have the necessary amount already contained in their formula. When taking iron, consider boosting the intake of foods rich in vitamin C (orange juice, berries, grapefruit, tomatoes, etc.) because this vitamin helps the absorption of iron.
Here’s another mineral your body needs during pregnancy—iodine. This mineral is crucial for the production of thyroid hormones that help your body utilize and store energy. But iodine is also necessary for the baby’s proper development, mainly when it comes to the nervous system like the brain, spinal cord and nerves that allow your child to move, think, feel and experience the world. Pregnant women usually need 220 micrograms of iodine, so make sure your prenatal vitamins contain this mineral. Iodine can also be absorbed from food such as fish, dairy products, fortified cereal and bread and iodized salt. Check with your doctor whether you need to add iodine to your supplement list and make sure to check the labels when shopping for groceries.
Before taking any supplements before and during pregnancy, make sure to always consult your health provider to get the most accurate information and programs tailored to your needs. However, make sure to keep these vitamins and supplements in mind when growing your baby.