Dietary supplements during pregnancy help in healthy development of the foetus. Find out the common dietary supplements suggested in pregnancy.
Though you must rely on the natural foods for all the nutrients, you may also be suggested supplements by your doctor to make up for all the nutritional requirement of your body during pregnancy. The supplements shall ensure your growing baby gets everything he or she needs for healthy development.
A natural question that arises is, how much supplements you need in pregnancy. For this, you need to rely on your doctor. You need to remember that too much of the nutrients shall also not be good for your growing baby. You must take only the amount suggested by your doctor to you every day.
Additionally, you must also be careful about the over the counter medicines as self medication can be harmful during pregnancy.
Are Vitamin Supplements Necessary?
Due to morning sickness and food aversions, it is not possible to maintain a completely nutritious diet. Therefore, although vitamins cannot take the place of a good antenatal diet, they are more like insurance. Research has shown that women who take vitamins before pregnancy and during the first month greatly reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida in their babies. So do ask your doctor for a prescription.
Which Dietary Supplements Do I Need to Take?
Studies have shown that lack of folic acid in the first trimester can increase the risk of spinal tube defects and lip and palate deformities in the baby. Vitamins, iron and calcium are essential in your diet. Most doctors also recommend daily supplements of folic acid and vitamin B12 starting from the first month, and iron and calcium after the first trimester. Iron-fortified multivitamin supplements especially formulated for pregnancy and lactation are also available. Please make sure that you only take the vitamin supplements which are prescribed by your doctors.
Prenatal vitamins are a must for all pregnant women. However, this does not mean you can let go the natural sources in food. You should be taking the supplements along with a healthy diet.
Here we have discussed some of the commonly suggested nutritional supplements in pregnancy. Take a look:
1. Calcium Supplements
This ensures healthy bone and teeth formation. In pregnancy your baby shall be calcifying his or her bones, thus it is essential you take the calcium supplements daily. If you do not take the supplements daily, you shall experience bone degeneration in course of time. Lack of calcium can lead to painful cramps in pregnancy as well.
You may be suggested to take around 1000mg of calcium every day. However, your daily consumption must not exceed 1200 IU. Please make sure that you take the dose as per your doctor’s advice.
2. Folic Acid
You must in fact start taking folic acid supplements even before you are pregnant. Your baby shall start forming his or her spinal cord in the first few days of pregnancy and thus folic acid shall be extremely essential. Your prenatal vitamins must contain around 800mcg of folic acid. This shall ensure you need not take any additional supplements of folic acid, unless advised by your doctor. You may take around 1200mcg of folate every day in pregnancy.
3. Iron Supplements
Your doctor shall check from time to time if you are taking your iron supplements daily. The supplements apart from your diet shall help increasing your blood volume to help in formation of cells. This shall ensure easy transportation of oxygen and other nutrients through the placenta to your baby.
Iron supplements can lead to constipation and thus you must take foods rich in vitamin C in sufficient amount to help your body absorb and utilize iron well.
This healthy supplement helps increasing the level of good bacteria. You can keep at bay infections, illness and ensure healthy digestion with this supplement. Your baby gets all the good bacteria while coming out through the vagina. Healthy breast milk also helps him or her get the good bacteria. You can always discuss with your doctor about the good probiotics that shall be suitable for you.
5. Protein Powder
Protein plays the important role of repairing and building your tissues. Proteins also offer you all the energies you need to get going. You need around 90gms of protein in pregnancy that you can get from homemade smoothies, soups and stews mixed with protein powder.
While these are some of the general nutritional supplements suggested in pregnancy, you may be suggested something else depending on your condition. Your doctor may prescribe iron and calcium supplements which may include other vitamins too for their better absorption by your body. Make sure to alarm your doctor in case you experience any side effects from any of the supplements. Your doctor shall be the right person to keep you on track.
What is the need of dietary supplements during pregnancy? Which supplements should be taken during pregnancy? Can healthy diet forsake the need of dietary supplements? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team