The answer to this question seems to depend on whom you ask. Some say prenatal vitamins are essential; others blow them off completely. In the middle are those who believe prenatals should be taken by only some women (smokers, vegetarians, etc.). As an OB/GYN, we recommend prenatal vitamins for all women of childbearing age, before pregnancy and during.
Some experts cite studies where women who took prenatal vitamins gave birth to babies who were no healthier than those babies born to women who did not take prenatals. Others contend that the risk of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects, is higher among women who do not take prenatal vitamins.
Let’s talk about the importance of prenatal vitamins.
Even skeptical experts agree on the importance of folic acid supplements. Because the evidence is so overwhelming regarding the effects of folic acid deficiency causing neural tube defects in the baby, and because folic acid is not necessarily ample in the average diet, this is one supplement that is highly recommended and can be found in your average prenatal vitamin.
Many pregnant women find that prenatal vitamins simply make them sick. The pills are enormous, and even non-pregnant individuals can get nauseated from taking so many vitamins at once. This is one major reason why some women simply give up taking vitamins during pregnancy. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons or consider pills that are easier to swallow and don’t cause nausea.
You can also compromise by purchasing your prenatal vitamins instead of relying on prescription ones. Some prenatals come in food-based forms or capsules, which may be more bio-available.
Some commercially available prenatal vitamins involve anywhere from 3 to 6 tablets or capsules a day. While this may seem burdensome, some women find that being able to spread out the vitamins throughout the day is easier on the stomach. Also, when the supplements are in multi-pill form, you can adjust your vitamin intake accordingly.
So, the bottom line is, take your prenatal vitamin to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Until next time #GYNEGirls and #Preggos…