Prenatal Vitamins 101: Why You Need One, and What to Look For

Whether you’re about to start trying for a baby, or just found out that you’re pregnant, you’ve probably begun to think about your nutrition. We touch on a few of the ways you can adjust your diet in this article (hint: whole foods are key), but what about a prenatal? And what ingredients should you be looking for? 

We’re breaking it down below:

Why You Need A Prenatal Vitamin 
During pregnancy, you need nutrients in higher levels than usual, as these support your growing baby’s development. Folate helps prevent neural tube defects, and iron helps support the development of your placenta and helps your body supply blood to your baby. Other nutrients, which we get into below, support everything from brain development to spinal cord growth, while reducing the risk of complications during birth. 

Anyone of reproductive age can take prenatal vitamins, and it’s ideal to start taking them before conception, alongside a healthy, balanced diet. If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, but haven’t started taking a prenatal yet, now is a great time to do so. 

Ingredients You Should Look For
There are many prenatal vitamins on the market, which can feel quite overwhelming, especially on top of all of the other things you’re thinking about as you become pregnant or consider becoming pregnant.

Here are the key ingredients you should be looking for:

As we highlighted above, folate is one of the most important nutrients to supplement before and during pregnancy. In addition to preventing neural defects, it’s important for healthy heart and face development. You’ll want to aim for 400 mcg every day while you’re trying to become pregnant, and 600 mcg every day during your pregnancy. 

Vitamin A
In addition to supporting your immunity, vitamin A helps develop your baby’s immune system, as well as their circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems. It also supports the development of their bones, eyes, kidneys, lungs, and heart. 

Another essential nutrient for pregnancy is zinc, because it plays a role in a range of different bodily functions, like immune function, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Those who are pregnant need more zinc than those who are not, and thus are at a higher risk for a zinc deficiency. This can affect the development of the placenta, and lead to defects or other complications during pregnancy and lactation. Our bodies do not store zinc, so it’s important to get it daily in your prenatal. 

As a mineral, iodine is essential for the development of the brain, nervous system, and thyroid. It’s especially important during the first trimester, when your baby’s thyroid gland is in the development phase. Adequate iodine can reduce the risk of miscarriages and cognitive abnormalities as well.

Vitamins B6 + B12
First things first, vitamin B6 has been known to help reduce the nausea associated with morning sickness, making it a game-changer for that first trimester. Additionally, and like some of the above nutrients, it’s crucial for your baby’s brain and nervous system development. 

Vitamin B12, on the other hand, ensures the creation of healthy red blood cells, and supports brain and spinal cord development.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, a key nutrient found in foods like meats, leafy greens, and beans. It’s also essential for tissue repair and wound healing, and helps your baby’s bones and teeth develop. Lastly, it aids in the production of collagen and supports the immune system. 

Vitamin D
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D supports healthy bone development in your baby as well as your own mood, immunity, and blood pressure. Many people (even those who are not pregnant) are deficient in vitamin D, as it’s challenging to get from diet alone, and spending time outdoors is needed to trigger its production. This can be hard to do if you spend a lot of time indoors either for work or other activities, so a prenatal with vitamin D is incredibly important. 

Vitamin E
With many antioxidant properties, vitamin E is needed to protect the body’s cells, keep the immune system healthy, and provide neurological and brain development benefits to your child. Getting enough vitamin E may also reduce the risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery. Additionally, it reduces oxidative stress in the body, which can be linked to health conditions like preeclampsia or low birth weight.

If you’re on the hunt for a prenatal vitamin that covers all the bases, look no further than the Rae Wellness Prenatal Capsules. With each of these nutrients, it’s the perfect choice for supporting you and your baby’s health throughout your pregnancy. 

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