How do I choose the right prenatal vitamin?
A prenatal vitamin is crucial prior to conception, as well as during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Optimal nutritional health is important for mom and baby and also for baby's future health. Taking the right prenatal vitamin can improve any underlying nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to infertility. A good quality vitamin can help reduce morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, and muscle cramps during pregnancy as well as help prevent certain conditions/complications during pregnancy. Consuming the right amount of nutrients can help improve healing after delivery, increase your breastmilk supply, and ensure baby is receiving nutrient dense breastmilk. Today, most of us are not getting the nutrients we need in our food intake. This is due to several factors, including our food choices as well as a decline of nutrients in the soil. Even if you are very conscious of what you eat, and eat all the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, and protein you likely still need a prenatal vitamin to fill in any gaps.
With so many supplements on the market, it can be tricky to choose the right prenatal vitamin for you. Many insurances do cover prenatal vitamins, but do not assume they are complete or that the nutrients are in the best forms for our body to utilize. First of all, your prenatal should be split into more than one dose throughout the day. Your body can only utilize so many nutrients at one time, and consuming all the nutrients at once inhibits the ability to have optimal nutritional health. You should always discuss your supplements with your healthcare team especially if you have any medical conditions or have any nutrient deficiencies.
Here are the most important nutrients to look for:
1) EPA and DHA: about 300 mg of DHA and similar EPA--purity and quality of the fish oil is so important because many fish oil supplements can be rancid or contain heavy metals
2) Vitamin B6: atleast 10 mg
3) Vitamin D: atleast 1,000 IU
4) Calcium: 600 - 1,000 mg calcium -- the body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium and calcium INHIBITS the absorption of iron so many prenatal vitamins do not contain iron. You may need a separate supplement of iron, which brings us to our next nutrient...
5) Iron: atleast 20 mg -- you will likely have labs at a fertility workup and during pregnancy to check for anemia
6) Vitamin A: 5,000 IU -- best to come from various sources of Vitamin (ie carotenoids, beta carotene)
7) Folic Acid: 600 - 800 mg -- best to be in the form of methylfolate and folinic acid as many people have a genetic mutation where they cannot convert folic acid into the form needed by the body
8) Magnesium: 300 - 400 mg
9) Vitamin B12: 2.6 mcg is a bare minimum--there are research studies to show that 3 times this amount is optimal
Here are a few prenatal vitamins I would recommend:
1) Full Circle Prenatal. I am affiliate and will receive a small commission if you purchase Full Circle through this link:
2) Thorne Basic Prenatal
3) Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal
Provide your body and your future baby with a good quality prenatal vitamin--it is worth the investment!
Love and baby blessings,