A balanced diet consisting of a variety of proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats should provide all of the nutrients a person requires. However, during pregnancy there is an increased demand for all of these nutrients and extra vitamins and minerals as well. The US RDA (recommended daily allowances) for these vitamins and minerals reflect this need. So in addition to a well planned diet, most physicians will recommend pregnancy vitamins. These vitamins have higher dosages of the nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy, including iron, calcium, folate, iodine and vitamin D. They don’t replace the need for a well balanced diet, but can help fill in any gaps that may be overlooked in day to day meal planning.
Iron is in high demand by the body during the prenatal period. A woman’s blood volume and red blood cell count increases significantly during pregnancy. Many pregnant women find themselves newly anemic for the first time in their lives. For this reason, one of the main minerals supplemented in pregnancy vitamins by Amcal is iron. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue and muscle weakness. Prenatal blood tests will always check blood iron levels and physicians may prescribe supplementation beyond what is provided by pregnancy vitamins.
Folate, or folic acid, has gotten a lot of attention for its role in preventing neural tube defects. The March of Dimes has raised awareness of this crucial vitamin and the necessity for higher folate intake in women of childbearing age. All pregnancy vitamins provide the US RDA of folic acid for pregnant women. Neural tube defects can form in fetuses before the average woman will even know she is pregnant. Ideally women should take pregnancy vitamins if there is any chance at all they will become pregnant, such as Life Space Pregnancy Probiotic and Breastfeeding – 60 Capsules.
Pregnancy vitamins also provide higher levels of calcium than regular vitamin supplements. Large amounts of calcium are required by the mother’s body due to the growth of the baby’s bones. If calcium is not supplied in adequate amounts from dietary sources, the body will rob the mother’s skeletal system in order to provide for the growing fetus. This can lead to lower maternal bone density and possible osteoporosis later in the mother’s life.
In addition to calcium, pregnancy vitamins provide vitamins C, E, and D, all crucial for the development of bones. They also aid in the development of cartilage, tendons and skin. Consuming prenatal vitamins is one of the most effective choices an expectant mother can take in order to have a healthy baby. Beyond what is currently known about diet and nutrition, the extra vitamins and minerals provided by these pregnancy vitamins may play other essential, but as of yet unknown, roles in health and disease prevention. The peace of mind that these vitamins deliver, particularly in the absence of any known risks, far outweigh the minimal expense.