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Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins [Full List and Other FAQs]

Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins [Full List and Other FAQs]

Throughout your pregnancy, your body and growing baby will require plenty of nutrients, which prenatal vitamins can provide.

However, what benefits do they provide? This is a question that many expecting moms ask, and I aim to address it here. 

Read this guide to learn more about the many benefits of prenatal vitamins.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

What Are the Benefits of Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are a supplement for restoring the body’s natural stores of vitamins during pregnancy. 

You can start taking prenatal vitamins around preconception to build a vitamin surplus in your body. 

Healthcare providers recommend them for individuals who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or currently breastfeeding.

These supplements also can provide nutrients for mothers with food aversions. These food aversions can extend to allergic people or those with religious restrictions.

Prenatal vitamins provide the following benefits:

1. Reduces Risk of Birth Defects

Prenatal vitamins can prevent the risks of congenital disabilities. They supply the mother with all the extra vitamins needed for proper fetal development. 

If you don’t take prenatal vitamins, you risk being deficient in essential vitamins like iodine, which could impair neurological development in your child.

From low birth weight and size to miscarriages, prenatal vitamins can act as assurance. The baby is guaranteed the best start possible due to their robust fetal development.

2. Replenishes Calcium for You and Your Child

A lot of calcium will be used in developing your baby, potentially leaving your bones brittle. However, calcium replenishment will help you build stronger bones and teeth.

Whether suffering from osteoporosis or building your baby’s teeth, prenatal vitamins are rich not only in calcium. 

There are other bone-strengthening vitamins like phosphorus or vitamin D.

3. Improved Mood and Brain Function

Prenatal vitamins can act as mood and cognitive functioning enhancers. During pregnancy, it is important to maintain focus and mental sharpness.

Prenatal vitamins improve the quality of your day and mindset, whether you are pregnant or not.

4. Improved Fertility

Prenatal vitamins can help your body become more fertile and deal with irregular periods. They also provide your body with the extra nutrients to function better.

Improved health leads to a higher fertility rate and reproductive health, increasing the chances of getting pregnant.

You can also treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with prenatal vitamins rich in folate to prevent any neural tube defects.

5. Higher Energy Levels

These vitamins provide the much-needed energy and strength to endure difficult days. These vitamins include iron, folate, and magnesium.

Prenatal vitamins specifically provide nutrients supporting your blood flow and metabolism. Better digestion and delivery of nutrients naturally result in better stamina for the day.

Anemia is especially dangerous and endemic for pregnant women. The best way to mitigate this risk is constant iron supplementation for more hemoglobin and red blood cells.

6. Better Quality of Sleep

Prenatal vitamins improve sleep quality, especially during insomniac episodes during pregnancy. These vitamins regulate the hormones keeping you out.

Folate, magnesium, and calcium are all essential vitamins for maintaining a person’s sleep cycles.

More restful sleep means you have more energy to face not just tomorrow but also any bodily changes from pregnancy.

7. Improved Health for the Skin, Hair, and Nails

The vitamins used within prenatal supplements have a positive link on one’s skin, hair, and nails.

Even as a side benefit, these bodily improvements reduce aging effects and strengthen your nails and hair to make you look your best.

Some of the best prenatal vitamins are made from mostly organic ingredients for maximum safety and benefits.

8. Faster Healing From Injuries

Prenatal vitamins help you recover much quicker from your wounds and illnesses. The vitamins boost your immune system’s health by healing wounds or fighting germs.

Therefore, people with heart issues or wanting to prevent them should consider taking prenatal vitamins. I have recommended prenatal vitamins to friends with this exact issue.

9. Faster Postpartum Recovery

Your body will need some time to recover post-pregnancy, but consistent prenatal vitamins can accelerate the healing.

These supplements have all the building blocks your body needs to rebuild muscle, produce breast milk, and recover from fatigue.

10. Better Overall Prenatal Health

The biggest advantages are the decreased chances of getting chronic diseases before they take root. These vitamins keep your cells healthy and prevent damage from free radicals.

The vitamins also keep your heart healthy and prevent high blood pressure common in pregnant women. Folate passively improves the cardiovascular system and prevents preeclampsia.

What Are the Essential Nutrients in a Prenatal Vitamin?

What Are the Essential Nutrients in a Prenatal Vitamin?

Look out for these prenatal vitamin ingredients to get the most effective products available. Some of the best products have the following ingredients:

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a vital role in gene development, cellular production, vision, and immunity. Its different forms, known as retinoids, are crucial for embryonic and fetal development, particularly in the eyes, ears, limbs, and heart.

To support fetal eye development and a strong immune system, the recommended amount of vitamin A is 770 mcg.

2. Vitamin D

Filipinos are fortunate to have ample sunlight, which allows us to naturally produce vitamin D. However, for individuals with limited sun exposure, vitamin D supplements might be necessary to ensure adequate levels of this essential vitamin.

Vitamin D has various benefits, such as boosting pregnancy rates, improving IVF success, and supporting frozen egg embryo donors. It is recommended to consume at least 100g of Vitamin D daily to enhance bone health and strengthen the fetus’s immune function.

3. B Vitamins

Vitamin B and its various forms are essential prenatal vitamins, with folate (B9) being the most crucial among them.

Deficiencies in Vitamin B during pregnancy can lead to harmful side effects for the mother, ranging from hair loss to a weakened immune system.

The various forms of Vitamin B include the following: 

  • Thiamine (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  • Biotin (B7) 
  • Pyridoxine (B6) 
  • Folate (B9) 
  • Cobalamin (B12)

4. Calcium

Iron and calcium are important vitamins for preconception and pregnancy. 

However, both vitamins compete during absorption. Your body won’t be able to absorb either mineral fast enough or as effectively.

Any supplement containing both will be inefficient. I advise you to only use one supplement at a time. You can still take the other only after two hours of full absorption.

However, many people are calcium-deficient, so it is essential to prioritize it. Calcium plays a crucial role in developing the baby’s bones while also protecting you from bone loss during pregnancy.

Furthermore, you would need around 1000 mg of calcium to strengthen fetal teeth and bones.

5. Choline

Choline bitartrate is essential for egg quality and a baby’s brain and spinal development. This compound is also very hard to find naturally in most diets.

During pregnancy and lactation, mothers will deliver a large amount of choline to the fetus across the placenta and through breast milk. 

This process is especially draining. Choline deficiency leads to liver and muscle damage.

The need for dietary supplementation arises despite natural synthesis. The recommended amount is 425 mg/day during preconception and 450 mg/day during pregnancy.

6. DHA

Omega-3 fatty acid, also known as Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), or fish oil, is needed for your and your baby’s brain and growth.

This vitamin has been utilized in treating various conditions during pregnancy, including preterm birth, fetal growth restrictions, and gestational diabetes.

The recommended daily intake of omega-3 should be around 650mg, with 300mg of DHA comprising half of the total.

7. Folic Acid/Folate

Folate (B9) is a variety of Vitamin B for egg quality during preconception. It fosters a baby’s brain and spine during the initial weeks of pregnancy.

In both bodies, folate creates red blood cells, proteins, and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). It has even been credited with combating diabetes and other congenital diseases.

Ideally, you should consume at least 600-800 micrograms (mcg) of folate. Some products even use L-methyl folate, the more biologically active form of folate, for treating deficiencies.

8. Iron

Iron is needed for developing both the fetus and the placenta. This mineral is in high demand due to the need for more blood cells and hemoglobin for transporting oxygen and preventing anemia.

The ideal amount is around 27 milligrams (mg) of iron to form red blood cells and hemoglobin.

9. Iodine

Iodine is a key vitamin in maternal thyroid hormone production for the body. The hormone is used for myelinating the baby’s developing central nervous system and brain.

Thyroid hormone shortages can cause irreversible brain damage, congenital disabilities, and miscarriages during pregnancies.

You will need around 220 mcg of iodine to develop a healthy fetal brain while maintaining your thyroid health.

10. Zinc

Pregnant women often experience zinc deficiencies due to rapid cell growth, which can lead to low birth weight, premature deliveries, and labor complications.

Zinc is a crucial building block for DNA creation, wound healing, and healthy cell growth, especially essential in the development of our baby’s tissues and genetics.

The ideal amount of zinc would be around 100 mg for a complication-free birth.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins?

What Are the Common Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins?

As great as prenatal vitamins are, there are side effects to consider during and after your regimen intake.

Prenatal vitamin side effects can often get confused for pregnancy-related occurrences.

Should the source be traced directly to prenatal vitamins, there are ways to mitigate these effects.

The most common side effects include:

1. Bloating

This side effect is hard to distinguish due to pregnancy hormones or prenatal vitamins.

Some individuals, especially those who are sensitive to omega-3 fish oil, may experience bloating as a reaction to their prenatal vitamins.

2. Bruising

You become more susceptible to bruising due to an inability to process vitamin E or K. Either vitamin is used to form blood clots.

3. Constipation

Constipation is a very common side effect due to excessive iron from prenatal vitamins. The exact cause isn’t completely known yet.

However, it is possible to mitigate potential constipation with vitamin C and citrus for better absorption.

4. Nausea

Nausea can be caused by various factors, such as the size or smell of the pills. The inclusion of additional micronutrients can make vitamin pills bulkier, increasing the likelihood of experiencing nausea.

Certain pills may have a triggering smell or produce preservative side effects, while the micronutrients themselves are not usually the typical cause of nausea.

5. Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction is another common side-effect of prenatal vitamins, particularly towards an ingredient. It’s uncommon to be allergic to micronutrients.

Nausea, gassiness, and vomiting are among the more specific reactions in this category.

6. Gassiness

Another side effect of DHA in fish oil is common in their use of prenatal vitamins. This is because your stomach is digesting fish oil in its purest form.

7. Dry or Itchy Skin

Dry or itchy skin is a tell-tale sign of having excessive vitamin A in your body. It is especially easy to get excessive vitamin A from food.

Vitamin A-rich food includes fruits, eggs, milk, sweet potatoes, etc.

How Can You Manage Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects?

One simple approach to managing side effects from prenatals is to try different brands since not all of them use the same recipe. However, this process can be time-consuming and inconvenient.

Another method is to adjust how and when you take the vitamins. Some prenatal supplements may be better tolerated in the afternoon when your body is less reactive, and the presence of a recently eaten meal can also influence their impact.

If you find the pills too large, consider switching to prenatal gummies for a more pleasant experience. Additionally, with your healthcare provider’s approval, you can divide the pills and take them at different times of the day or every other day.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you experience disruptive symptoms like nausea or vomiting after changing brands. These symptoms may not be related to the vitamins and could indicate another issue.

While I typically recommend starting prenatal vitamins three months before conception, this allowed me enough time to plan a proper diet for myself.

FAQs

To ensure you don’t miss anything, here is some extra information about prenatal vitamins and their benefits.

Can Prenatal Vitamins Help You Get Pregnant?

Prenatal vitamins do not directly contribute to getting pregnant; their main role is to ensure a healthy birth. However, some vitamins, such as folic acid, have been linked to improved ovulation in women, although more evidence is needed to support this claim.

Prenatal vitamins are also safe to take even when you aren’t pregnant.

Can Prenatal Vitamins Help Your Hair Grow?

No, there is no direct link between prenatal vitamins and hair growth.

However, some prenatal vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, biotin, and zinc are important for healthy hair and skin. More research is required to support this connection.

When Should You Stop Taking a Prenatal Vitamin?

You should take prenatal vitamins as long as you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child. However, there are many factors to consider before stopping.

These factors include your health history, dietary needs, and lifestyle choices. The supplements can be especially useful for vegan diets to supplement any missing vitamins.

As a rule of thumb, always involve doctors and healthcare providers in your prenatal vitamin regimen. They will specify the recommended dosage and duration of use for you.

Can Prenatal Vitamins Affect Your Period?

Undernourished people or those with low body weight have irregular or absent periods due to low body fat. Vitamin deficiencies are not to blame, as vitamins can’t regulate periods.

Nonetheless, always listen to your doctor and other professional health providers on their diagnosis. They can provide insight into any changes your menstrual cycle is going through.

The best way to protect yourself is still getting the most nutrients via regular exercise, healthy diets, and lifestyle choices.

Conclusion

Prenatal vitamins are a godsend as they restore your body of both its strength and nutrients, keeping you and your baby well.

They protect you against deficiencies leading to birth complications. They also help make your day-to-day life much easier post-pregnancy.

Look for any side effects and the ingredients used in said supplements. Then, you should be as safe as you can be with them.

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!