Prenatal Vitamins with DHA: Explanation and Common Questions
Here is a quick look at the top picks:
Should I take prenatal vitamins before pregnancy?
Prenatal vitamins are extremely important before (and during) pregnancy to ensure a healthy delivery and baby. Ideally, women should start taking prenatal vitamins before they become pregnant.
Table Of Contents
When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
Answer: Many women start prenatal vitamins before they start trying to conceive because taking prenatal vitamins before conception helps your baby to start with all the proper nutrients he or she needs.
What is in prenatal vitamins?
Answer: Prenatal vitamins contain vitamins, nutrients and minerals your baby needs for healthy development. These vitamins and nutrients are vital for proper growth and development.
During pregnancy, you need much higher intake of nutrients such as calcium, folic acid (folate) and iron. Even if you eat a varied and healthy diet (vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, grains and legumes), you may not get enough of each of the required vitamins and nutrients unless you supplement.
Listen Below To Dr. Neda: Explain Her personal advice on the benefits of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy and their side effects. In addition, I discuss my preference for a prenatal vitamin.
Folic acid, or folate, is a vitamin B and extremely important to your baby’s development.
Benefits of prenatal vitamins:
Consuming enough folate can reduce your baby’s risk of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida, cleft lip or palate and heart defects) by half! It may also reduce your chances of getting preeclampsia later in your pregnancy.
Folate is used by every single cell in your body, as it divides. As you can imagine when you’re growing a baby there is a lot of cell division going on.
Your baby needs the folic acid to grow and form appropriately. Because of the way folic acid is available for your body when broken down, the synthetic version in supplements is easier for your body to absorb and put to use.
Be sure your prenatal vitamin has the recommended amount (or more) of folic acid (folate) for you and your baby. The recommended daily amount of folic acid (folate) is 600 mcg (micrograms) for at least the first trimester of pregnancy.
Iron is also very important as a mom-to-be. Most pregnant women do not get enough iron in their diets to meet their (and their baby’s) needs. Low iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which increases your risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and infant mortality.
To avoid anemia, ensure you are taking the recommended daily amount of iron. When pregnant, the recommended daily amount of iron increases from 18 mg (milligrams) per day to 27 mg per day.
This is why the amount of iron you need shoots up during pregnancy from 18 to 27 milligrams (mg) per day. Because it’s hard to get enough iron through diet alone, you should start taking a prenatal vitamin with iron as soon as you want to, or become, pregnant.
DHA – Are prenatal vitamins with DHA better?
Most prenatal vitamins contain the omega–3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is necessary during pregnancy for your baby’s brain and vision development.
Fish are a high source of DHA, but with the risks of mercury toxicity many doctors recommend taking a DHA supplement when pregnant. The recommended daily amount of DHA when pregnant (or breastfeeding) is 200 mg to 600 mg.
Most adult women average less than 70 mg per day.
Omega–3’s (such as DHA) are called essential fatty acids because you have to get them from diet or supplements. Your body does not produce it naturally. This is why it’s so important to consume enough DHA for yourself and your growing baby.
Best Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins
Unlike medication sold in stores, nutritional supplements (including prenatal vitamins) are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). That means there is absolutely no regulation to ensure the prenatal you are taking contains what it says it does.
So what is a pregnant women to do?
Ask and Find Resources: I recommend asking your doctor or midwife for a brand recommendation, buying only reputable and name brand prenatal, or buying store brand generics sold by major retailers. There are also brands that have been evaluated by third parties, such as the US Pharmacopeial Convention.
For me personally, I was prescribed because as a military wife I get them free. That is the ONLY reason. Mine did have DHA.
Another great source of verifiable information about prenatal vitamins is LabDoor (www.labdoor.com). LabDoor chemically analyzes the actual quantities of active ingredients and key nutrients in a product.
This verifies the prenatal vitamin actually contains what they say it does. It also lists the nutritional value for each supplement, and if there are any ingredients that might be of concern.
Here are their top 3 highest quality:
Using another source, such as LabDoor, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of prenatal vitamins is vital to ensure you (and your baby’s) health and safety.
At a minimum, look for a prenatal vitamin that includes:
- Folate (Folic acid): 600 mcg (micrograms)
- Calcium: 1,000 mg (milligrams)
- DHA: 200 mg (milligrams)
- Iron: 27 mg (milligrams)
- Iodine: 220 mcg (micrograms)
- Vitamin A: 770 mcg (micrograms)
- Vitamin C: 600 IU (international units)
- Vitamin D: 600 IU (international units)
- Vitamin B6: 1.9 mg (milligrams)
- Vitamin B12: 2.6 mcg (micrograms)
Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal
What is vitamin code raw prenatal?
Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal are produced by Garden of Life. They contain uncooked, untreated and unadulterated vitamins and minerals. There are no binders or fillers, and they are always dairy-free and gluten-free. Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal also contains clinically studied probiotics that (they claim) not only enhance the immune systems of mothers, but that of their babies as well. These vitamins also include ginger to help reduce the nausea that some prenatal vitamins induce in pregnant women. Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal vitamins scored an overall grade of “A” from LabDoor, and is an excellent choice for many pregnant women.
Men and Prenatal Vitamins
Can men take prenatal vitamins?
Most men might have a problem with the dose of nutrients in prenatal vitamins. They would probably be better off taking a multi-vitamin geared towards men’s health.
However, they will not harm men and can be taken if desired.
Some men with nutritional deficiencies (such as iron or calcium) may find prenatal vitamins beneficial.
Weight Gain, Nausea & Prenatal Vitamins
Do prenatal vitamins cause weight gain?
Prenatal vitamins do not cause pregnancy weight gain – pregnancy does!
There is nothing to suggest they increase weight gain. In fact, taking them can increase nausea in some women.
To reduce nausea, you can try taking your prenatal vitamins before you go to bed. (This worked wonders for me!)
Overnight, the pill dissolves and your body starts to absorb nutrients and vitamins you need, all wile you sleep. Some women find splitting their prenatal vitamins in half, and taking half in the morning and half in the evening, helps.
I would suggest taking your prenatal vitamins with a light snack or food to ease nausea.
Prenatal vitamins with DHA are very important for you and your baby’s health. Continue to take them as long as your doctor or midwife recommends. They help ensure a healthy delivery and a healthy baby!