A prenatal vitamin is a supplement that is designed to be taken before, during and after pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are supplements that are specifically formulated with the adequate amount of nutrients the mother needs to nourish herself and her baby. The goal of taking a prenatal vitamin is to supplement a woman’s diet with vitamins and minerals that may be missing from her regular diet. Prenatal vitamins are not intended to replace a healthy well-balanced diet, but rather, add extra insurance that a woman and her baby remain healthy before and after delivery.
Prenatal Vitamins can help provide the following assurances:
Prevent birth defects: Having adequate amounts of folic acid is essential during pregnancy as it can greatly lower the risk of delivering a baby with birth defects. For example, folic acid can reduce the likelihood of developing neural tube defects such as spine bifida and anencephaly during pregnancy. Folic acid also plays a key role in normal DNA synthesis.
Prevent illness: Research indicates that taking prenatal vitamins can lower the incidence of illness during and after pregnancy. Having enough calcium can prevent the loss of bone density in women and ample amounts of iron can also prevent the occurrence of anemia. Iron is integral in the production of hemoglobin which helps transport oxygen in the blood. Having enough iron also reduces the risk of giving birth prematurely. Many of today’s prenatal vitamins may also contain DHA which is not only helpful to the baby’s brain development, but it is also highly beneficial in boosting immunity for both the mother and her baby.
Healthier well-adjusted children: Prenatal vitamins help build a healthy and well-adjusted baby. Studies show that taking prenatal vitamins are beneficial to optimal brain, heart, kidney and other organ developments and functions. Regular intake of essential nutrients can also help prevent the occurrence of cognitive impairment, physical and mental delays as well as other medical conditions associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For example, malformation of the bones is often related to insufficient amounts of Vitamin D and/or calcium. In recent studies, attention and behavioral issues have been frequently linked to the lack of Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA which research has proven helpful to a child’s cognitive development.
All in all, prenatal vitamins are an important step in not only maintaining a mother’s health during and after pregnancy, but, prenatal vitamins are also a ‘must-have’ in order to help build a healthy child.