What's in Prenatal Vitamins, and Do I Need Them?

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet enhances wellness throughout your life. Getting vitamins and minerals from the food you eat is important, but fueling your body the right way is especially important when you’re pregnant. 

Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to supplement a healthy diet, giving you the extra nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy. These vitamins contain folic acid, iron, and other essential nutrients that promote a healthy pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or considering getting pregnant, chances are good that you should be taking a prenatal vitamin. Here to help you sort through all of the options and find a prenatal vitamin that’s right for you is Samuel Van Kirk, MD

Dr. Van Kirk and our team offer comprehensive prenatal care, and that includes prenatal vitamin counseling.

Essential nutrients for your growing baby

Folic acid, calcium, and iron are a few of the most important vitamins and minerals for a developing baby. Folic acid, a man-made form of the B vitamin folate, is crucial for neural tube development, which includes the fetal brain and spinal cord. Iron boosts oxygen supply in your blood and your baby’s blood, while calcium is important for bone growth.

Most of the time, you get enough of these essential nutrients and more through a healthy diet. But prenatal vitamins act as a backup while you're pregnant, ensuring you and your baby are as healthy as possible. 

In general, good prenatal vitamins contain:

Every woman’s needs are different, and the amount of each vitamin or mineral in prenatal vitamins can vary from brand to brand. Talk to Dr. Van Kirk about your health and any supplements you’re taking so he can help you decide what type of prenatal vitamin is right for you. 

Our team can recommend over-the-counter prenatal vitamins to fill gaps in your diet. In some cases, Dr. Van Kirk prescribes a prescription prenatal vitamin, depending on your health and any previous pregnancy complications.

The benefits of prenatal vitamins

The number one benefit of prenatal vitamins is supporting your baby’s health. Prenatal vitamins ensure your body has what it needs as your baby grows and develops, filling any gaps that might be in your diet.

Prenatal vitamins lower your baby’s risk of congenital conditions like spina bifida and developmental conditions like autism. When you take prenatal vitamins throughout pregnancy, they can also help to prevent preterm birth and low birthweight.

Women of reproductive age who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should take prenatal vitamins. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s a good idea to start a prenatal vitamin regimen before conception. A baby’s neural tube develops in the first month of pregnancy, and that could be before you even know you’re pregnant.

Take the recommended dosage of all vitamins and supplements during pregnancy. Taking more than necessary won’t provide extra health benefits, and high doses of certain vitamins can harm your health or your baby’s.

Taking prenatal vitamins while you’re pregnant helps to give your baby the healthiest possible start to life, and it’s never too early — or too late — to start. Schedule a prenatal appointment with Dr. Van Kirk at our office in Redding, California, at 530-242-4129, or send us a message online to learn more.

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